If you know a close friend or relative who has recently experienced the loss of a loved one, it’s important to support them through the grieving process. This is the time where loneliness and solitude can creep in, so it is important for them to feel like they can rely on someone for support.
But there is often the concern about doing and saying the right thing, especially when they’re in a fragile and emotional state. Here’s a quick guide on how you can show your support to help a loved one through their grief.
Learn about the grieving process
It would be hard for you to offer a helping hand to a friend when you don’t understand what they are going through. If you are clueless about the grieving process, and grief itself, take the first step by learning about it. It will make your support more effective and sincere. Here are a few tips about grief that could help you:
- There’s no standard way to grieve. Just as every person is unique and has a unique mind, grief can manifest differently between people. Thus, it is crucial to avoid saying anything to diminish their sad feelings by only focusing on the good or putting a positive spin on the situation.
- Grief can sometimes trigger extreme emotions and “unusual” behaviours. You might notice that they didn’t shed a tear during the funeral services, and continued to have a blank expression throughout the day. It is not unusual for them to experience numbness towards their feelings – in fact, they might actually succumb to their emotions and cry a week later. Give them the space to process their feelings, especially considering how shocking it is to receive news on someone’s death.
- There’s no “normal” time for grieving. Different people take different periods to overcome grief. This process depends on various factors like, beliefs, personality, and support network. The type of loss may also be a factor, depending on who they have lost and how close they are to the deceased.
They might find it difficult to express their grief and emotions – so when they initiate a conversation, make space for their words. Avoid feeling the need to interject them, as it is not an appropriate time for you to offer your problem-solving skills. It is unlikely that there is something you can do to fix this situation – thus, let time run its course. When they’re able to express themselves and feel heard, you are also helping them to get something off their chest.
Offer practical help
Besides sharing words of support and comfort, you can still offer practical ways to help a loved one. Shop for their groceries, or send meal takeaways to their home. You can also help them to complete any admin paperwork that’s involved with the deceased’s death, or accompany them to consult with a funeral director for the necessary funeral arrangements.
Find your own way to express your love
From emails and Facebook messages, to WhatsApp texts and video calls, it is good to reach out in any way you can. Different people have different ways of how they show love, so figure out how you can do so in the best way. If sending gifts is more of your style, look into flower bouquets and care packages that may be comforting for them to receive. No matter what you choose to do, if there was good intention, it will go a long way in making them appreciate the gesture and feel cared for.