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Most of us may find it uncomfortable to be around someone who is grieving. We may find it difficult to say or do the correct thing. We are unsure of what the best step would be to help them and feel extremely awkward in their presence. Unfortunately, for them, they are going through one of the hardest times of their life, and honestly, it may seem as if there is really nothing we can say or do to help them through it. However, this is not true. You can find ways to help them feel better, by simply consoling them and listening to them express their pain and emotions, you could help them more than you know. Here are a few tips to aid you in helping someone you love through the grieving process.
Reach out. Contact them first and let them know you are there for them through this emotional time. Tell them that you are sorry for their loss and feel for them. After the loss of a loved one, you can expect your friend to be emotional and overly sensitive. Remember they will need a reliable support system to help them through the many stages of their grief, and you could be that person for them.
Do not be afraid to speak up. It is normal to be afraid to be the first one to reach out to someone who is dealing with a loss. It is easy to believe that they simply want to be left alone or take some time to themselves to deal with their loss. And, for some of us, maybe this is true. However, what if your friend honestly wants and needs someone to talk to or to just be there for them, and you are not there? They could feel alone and abandoned during one of their biggest times of need, so it is in yours and theirs best interest to reach out and check in with them to find out if they are alright and see if they need to someone to listen to them. Please do not let your fear get in the way of helping a friend when they may need you.
Listen more and talk less. Remember you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. During a time of loss, the grieving person will need you to be there to listen to them and how they are feeling. It can be hard for those of us who have experienced loss before and want to share our experiences with them, but we need to remember this is their time to get their feelings out. It is okay to offer some insight into how you dealt with the death of your loved one, but the conversation should not revolve around this in any way.
Share your stories and memories. If you were friends or family of the deceased, you can share your stories, videos or photographs with the grieving. It can help ease your sadness by reminiscing and listening to all the good times your loved one had. If you did not know the deceased, you can always ask to hear stories about the deceased or take the time to look through videos and pictures with your friend. It will give everyone the chance to celebrate the life of the deceased and show your friend that even though their loved one is gone their memories and all the good things they accomplished are still here.
Never compare your grief to theirs. Losing someone we love hurts. The emotion may seem the same for all of us, but truly it isn’t. Each and every grief is different, and some will take the loss harder than others. Some will put on a brave face as if they are not hurting, but in reality, they are dying on the inside. You should never compare their grief to yours. Just because you were fine when your loved one died does not necessarily mean your friend will be okay. Also, the things that helped you get over your loss may not necessarily help your friend get over their loss. It depends on so many different factors, so take it easy and allow them to work through their grief as best as they can.
Do not ignore their grieving. It would be so much easier for some of us if we take a step back and allow our friends the necessary time to work through their grief on their own; however, this may not be the best way to help your friend process their grief. They may truly need you by their side and a simple phone call that acknowledges their loss and lets them know you will be there for them can mean so much to them during this difficult time. I know we all live busy lives and can get lost in them, but it will not take too long to reach out and listen to your friend during this tragic time in their life.
Never rush their grief. Unfortunately, grief knows no time limits and is different for everyone. It makes no difference if their loved one lived to the ripe old age of one hundred or was considerably younger when they passed. It is their loss to deal with, and no one knows what they have been through. Losing a loved one is emotionally, mentally and physically intense. Everyone has to deal with their emotions and their grief on their own time, so please never rush them through their grief or tell your friend to get over the loss of a loved one.
Remember to check in on them in the future. As stated before, grief knows no time limits. Some people will be dealing with the effects of their grief months later. You will want to check in with them periodically to see how they are dealing with their loss. You should see if they are doing well and handling the loss of their loved one as best as they can. You may even want to invite them to lunch or dinner just to talk and get them out of the house. It is important to let them know you are still there for them as they are working through and dealing with their grief.
It is difficult trying to find the best things to say to someone who is grieving. We may feel as if we are walking on eggshells around them, but this type of mentality will only make your friend feel worse. Try to relax and be upfront and genuine with them. Let them know you sympathize with them and will be there for them if they need you. Remember they may need your ears more than your mouth, so just be present in their life during this time to help ease them through it.