How Can I Help Someone Who is Grieving?
For those who have lost a loved one, it can be hard to ask for help. Thus, it is best for you to be proactive and offer specific assistance. Below are some guidelines and ideas:
1. Offer help only if you can follow through. Offer assistance in a way that makes sense in your life. Can you drive the carpool? Drop off a meal? Mow the lawn once a week? Take the kids for the afternoon?
2. Give without expectations. Grieving is energy-draining, and common courtesies can be neglected by the bereaved. Don’t feel bad if you card, flowers or meal is not acknowledged. Thanks may not come for your kindness, but your care will be appreciated.
3. Offer to perform routine tasks. Ordinary chores around the home are the last thing on the mind of a person who is grieving.
4. Bring food to the family. It relieves the burden of planning meals, shopping and cooking, especially when the family may not have the energy for such chores.
5. Offer your companionship. Going through grief can be lonely; however, the loneliness can sometimes be relieved with your friendship.
6. Listen. This is the most important way you can help your friend. Just listen…don’t offer suggestions, advice or solutions. By freely giving a sympathetic ear, this allows your friend to feel safe to express his or her feelings. Learn to be comfortable with shared silence too.
7. Reminisce. Reminisce with your friend about his or her loved one’s life. Sharing fond memories is a wonderful way to provide comfort. Remember, talking about the deceased will not hurt or upset the person grieving. In fact, it is just the opposite. Your friend will appreciate that you haven’t forgotten about their loved one, especially as time goes on.
8. Check in Regularly. This simple act will show you care, as well as make your friend more comfortable and secure. This is especially important in the first few years after the loss, as your friend gradually adjusts to not having the physical presence of their loved one.
9. Learn about Grief. To understand what your friend is going through, do your best to learn about grieving. By having an understanding of the grief process, you can offer more sensitive care and compassion.
10. Remember. Honor special dates including the date of death, birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, which may be especially hard on the bereaved. Your support will be needed and welcomed, especially on these days.