When someone close to you is going through grief, it can be hard to know the right thing to do or say. You may try to understand and attempt to speak all the right things, but still, your efforts may go meaningless. Worse than that, you may say some things that can cause the bereaved to stop sharing with you. What is important to remember is that everyone’s grief is unique, and just your constant presence means a lot.
Here are some pieces of advice by The Last Journey on how to help others grieve.
- Understand and Empathize.
We need to understand that grieving is a unique and personal experience. The bereaved person is overwhelmed and going through different forms of emotions such as sadness, anger, guilt, yearning, and confusion. They may get rude, lash out, cry for hours, but you need to reassure them all of this is natural. Don’t judge them or make them feel that they have been grieving for too long. It may slow the process down, and they may lose their connection with you. Instead, empathize and allow them to take their own time.
- What to say.
What’s more important than deciding what to say is to listen. The bereaved person needs to feel that their pain is acknowledged, and they can talk about it with you without being judged. You need to create a safe space for them to open up and share, and once they do, you can take cues and then eventually decide what to say and do. What you need to remember is to be express your concern and be consistent in providing support. Asking them how are they feeling today, and don’t try to rush them.
- Offer Assistance.
Since the bereaved person is already going through a lot, they may not come out and ask for help. You have to make a continuous effort to offer them both practical and emotional assistance. Instead of saying phrases like “Let me know if I can do something” make some practical suggestions such as “can I bring you dinner?.” Call them up and ask them about how they are doing today or simply pay surprise visits. All these practical gestures will make them feel that they are cared for and loved.
- Know when to take professional help.
While it is normal for a grieving person to feel sad, confused, and disconnected when these feelings continue to last for long and don’t improve or get even worse, it may be time to seek some help for them. As a concerned person looks for warning signs such as the prolonged feeling of hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, difficulty functioning in daily life, and instead of forcing them, drop a concerning suggestion to seek professional help.
We understand that helping others can be tricky, but remember to provide constant love and support.