Suggestions for Helping Someone Who is Grieving
- Provide a safe environment for strong emotions to be expressed. It may be painful, but it can be of enormous help.
- Help to remember the good things. Share your memories of the person who died, as you listen to their stories. If they show their emotions outwardly it is not because you have upset them, you have simply enabled them to be more open in your presence.
- Be there after the first wave is over. Make the effort to call, stop by, or to help out in other ways six months and a year down the road. Crowds might be difficult and holidays can feel overwhelming.
- Offer your help. Let that person know you remember them.
- Listen, listen, listen. People may need to tell their story over and over as they process their grief and integrate it into their life. Don’t judge people by what they say and how they feel. People can have a great deal to work through, and in time will come to answers that are right for them.
- Be careful of clichés, religious platitudes or easy answers. You may not be able to help with certain issues right now, so don’t be too quick to share your opinions if you hear something you might not agree with. People need time to work things out in their own unique timing.
- Be sensitive to their needs, be patient, have confidence and believe in them. Grief is work of our minds, our bodies and our spirits. It takes time to learn to live into a “new normal.”
- Be aware of any potentially destructive behaviors. Loss can lead some people into depression, alcohol or drug abuse. Be a loving and protective advocate for a grieving person.
- Help find humor in appropriate ways and places. Laughter can indeed be good medicine. (See the Tragicomedia articles, for example, in our articles section)
- Encourage creativity by locating an art therapist or a caring artist to turn precious clothing and belongings into custom-created funerary urns, teddy bears, pillows, portraits, custom jewelry and more. Grieflink.com has both art therapists and bereavement artists as members.
- Learn about grief. The more you know, the better you will be able to help someone else.
Dealing with grief cannot be avoided or postponed. Grief can be challenging to some relationships. Please remember that now, more than ever, people need the caring and patient support of friends and family. Your true friendship and companionship, your kindness and patience can mean more than you may ever know.
We grieve because we have loved. Remember, most of all, that grief is a process and is not something that people “get over.” Some days will simply be better than others.