Giving Support to a Grieving Loved One

Grief Support For Loved Ones

This article talks about the best things to say and do when lending support and showing sympathy to people you know who lost their loved ones.

It’s human nature to want to be there for a friend or a loved one in times of loss and grief. However, not everybody knows the right, most appropriate way to do this. Most of us feel awkward or unsure on what to do and what to say. We’re afraid that we might say something that can offend the grieving party or do something that will make them feel even worst. Most of the time, we think too much about it that we get exactly the kind of results that we were afraid of in the first place.

While there’s no easy way to deal with this matter, know that you’re not there to take away the pain. Your role is to provide that much needed support and comfort and the best way to start doing this is going to the funeral and showing the grieving party that you care. There isn’t a perfect blueprint to support those who experienced loss because everyone is unique. However, generally speaking, the techniques below have been shown to provide the needed support for friends or family.

Just being there is enough

Losing somebody is one of the most painful experiences that one person can go through. The bereaved will often feel intense pain, fear, guilt, and insecurity. He or she might even question every single thing in the world and doubt everything that they used to believe in. However, it’s important for you to know that you’re not going to the funeral to give advice or to provide answers. Simply being there and listening when they vent out is often more than enough. Sympathize and offer a shoulder to lean and cry on. If unsure on what to say or what to do, just listen and offer hug. It will be deeply appreciated.

Understanding the pain

For people who are supposed to be there to provide support and comfort, it’s important to understand the pain that the bereaved is going through. The more you understand how they’re feeling, the more effective you’ll become in helping them out. If you have experienced the loss of a loved one, you know how hard it is.

Know that there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. People who have lost their loved ones have different ways to handle their pain. Some would spend enormous time in their rooms alone while others would like to be surrounded with friends and family members all the time. There are some who would resort to doing things like traveling or going back to school to get distracted. Let them grieve the way they want to and never tell them how they SHOULD do it the right way.

Also, understand that although some people can easily move on from the death of their loved ones, there are those who need more than just a couple of months to ease the pain while some may grieve over a few days as they deal with deep emotions that surface over time. Do not rush the bereaved person in feeling better or in forgetting about the death of their loved ones. Believe me, it wouldn’t help.

What to say

Very few of us prepare for situation like this. We usually do not rehearse the things that we want to say on our way to a funeral. Sadly, there are times that we’re unable to find the right words once we get in contact with the bereaved and this can be pretty awkward. Although there aren’t enough words to ease the pain, there are tips on how you can do this effectively.

First, acknowledge the situation and express your concern. For example, you can say, “I’m sorry. I’ve heard about what happened.” Encourage the person to talk about how the person they loved died. Often, talking about their feelings can somehow help in easing their pain. If you’re not sure on what to say next, just be honest and sincere. Don’t forget to offer support and a shoulder to cry on.

The following are other tips to keep in mind:

  1. Do not force the bereaved to talk. Everybody has his or her own way to grieve. While others wouldn’t want to stop talking and crying, there are those who would prefer to just stare and say nothing. This is perfectly fine. What you can do here is just squeeze their hands, offer eye contact, or simply give them reassuring hug.
  2. Listen. If the bereaved party wants to talk about how their loved one died, you should be willing to sit and listen no matter how much time it will take. These people will appreciate the fact that there’s somebody there to talk to. Sometimes, listening is all they need to get pass through this sad situation.
  3. Acknowledge their feelings. Tell the bereaved party that crying or even breaking down is perfectly fine. Encourage them to express their feelings the best way they know how to. Avoid giving unsolicited advice. If you’ve gone through the same situation, it might help to tell your story but never pretend that you really know what they’re feeling.
  4. Offer assistance. People who are grieving usually do not have the time to do the things they used to do before their loved ones died. Most of them would rather spend time alone in their room than run their errands. Offer to do things for them until they feel a bit better. For example, you can do their grocery shopping, cook a meal, mow the lawn or watch their kids every now and then.
  5. Watch out for warning signs. It’s normal for people grieving to feel disconnected and depressed. However, if you think that they’re not feeling a bit better after a considerable amount of time or if you see that they’re getting worse or becoming clinically depressed, step up and help them get professional help.

Supporting a grieving person is very important. Your presence and support could be everything they need to cope up. So, be there and know the right things to do and say to console them.

photo credit: FOR FLICKR – 002 via photopin (license)
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