- 21 Ways to Help Someone You Love Through Grief
- 21 Ways to Help Someone You Love Through Grief | Time
- How to support someone who's grieving?
Sometimes the best thing you can offer to someone who is grieving is to listen.
Assure the person that it is okay to talk about his or her feelings. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Everyone grieves in his or her own way. The sadness of loss, however, is universal. Be aware that a grieving person will have emotional ups and downs. Grief is often described as an emotional roller coaster. Someone who has just lost a loved one may feel fine one moment and overcome with emotion the next. This is a normal part of the grieving process. Such advice is usually well meant, but it may make the bereaved person feel worse.
21 Ways to Help Someone You Love Through Grief
Instead, let the person know that you recognize how great his or her loss is. Refrain from trying to explain the loss. Words that are meant to console the bereaved can in some cases have the opposite effect. Help out with practical tasks. In general, it would be better to ask them how they are today: Our society reinforces the idea that we should all maintain a fiction of doing well. The first few months after I lost Aaron, this question seemed so grossly insensitive that I felt anger every time I heard it, even though I knew the asker meant well.
If you do ask them how they are, please be willing to hear them talk about their pain. It is, again, socially weird, so just try to be totally nonjudgmental.
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Grief takes many forms. That five stages nonsense we were all told? You can be distraught one second and furious the next, then doing ok then crumpled in tears. What practical things could you do to help?
21 Ways to Help Someone You Love Through Grief | Time
When I lost Aaron, cooking was way beyond me. In fact it still is. Take them out to eat. Send them food deliveries. Go to their place and cook for them. Invite them over for meals. If they lost a partner, money may be an issue.
Send them a gift card. These may be the small bright lights in the fog that get your friend to the next beacon.
How to support someone who's grieving?
Besides food, what else could you do? If they have kids, perhaps you could babysit them so your friend can take care of things or go out with another friend. Or help her or him clean up, or pay bills, or organize arrangements, or go to the doctor, or offer to walk their dog, or shovel snow, or any number of basic life things that may suddenly feel impossible. Imagine your friend has a broken arm and leg, and needs that much help with everyday stuff. These small everyday things are acts of love.
The death of a loved one is destabilizing. Call your friend once a week. Are you really too busy? Because trust me, they notice, and they either feel cared for or not. Better yet, see them in person. Invite them to events. Include them in life. And do it consistently so they can start to feel that life still has structure, and that there is still a support network there for them. Your friend is not going to be better in three months. Share stories and memories about them and ask your friend to do the same.
Losing a loved one is a strange experience in that they remain the most important person in your life, yet they become a taboo topic for most around you. It can create a schism and is very isolating. Chances are, your friend would be thrilled to talk about the person they lost. They may also want to talk about the actual death itself.
This is a tragic moment that people struggle with, whether or not they were even present.
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- Support Groups.
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Many imagine what their loved one must have gone through, and it sears its way into them. Others will never be able to forget what they saw and experienced. Be patient if they want to keep talking about it, if they repeat themselves. They are processing the trauma, and talking about it helps. Talking about the lost loved on also lets your friend know that you understand that they are still a huge part of their life, and that they still deserve to be talked about. Your friend probably needs that aspect of their experience to be validated.
We fake it in polite company. On this side, the new normal, which is awful. The life we thought we were leading has been snatched away, and its replacement really sucks. Everyone is different, every relationship of every kind is different, but the fact remains that there is absolutely no timetable for grief. It is a never-ending process.