Helping someone through grief

Losing a loved one is something nearly all of us will have to go through in life. However, it’s really hard to know how to help someone who is grieving, particularly when you haven’t been through it yourself. It’s easy to feel awkward, not knowing what to say and then end up not doing anything at all even when that isn’t your intention.

In my experience, there isn’t really a right or wrong way to be around someone who’s grieving. The best thing you can do is to show up and just be there.

After my Dad died, I appreciated knowing people cared. There were people who reached out to me who I hadn’t spoken to for a long time but knew how much pain I would be in because they had suffered their own losses too.

Everyone deals with grief differently and it doesn’t run to a timeline. It can be quite a lonely experience so being there for someone can make all the difference.

Don’t worry about the message – send a card, phone or text to let the person know you are thinking about them. There are no real words of comfort, which really make grief easier in the initial stages but just letting someone know you care does help.

Think of how you can offer practical help – don’t ask or wait to be asked. Make food or buy groceries. It’s easy to forget to do basic tasks like eating or shopping when your world feels like it’s falling apart.

Please don’t worry about making someone cry – you can guarantee people are upset anyway and it’s nothing to do with your words. It really helps to be able to process emotions and tears are part of that.

Don’t be afraid to ask how they’re feeling – talking really does helps with processing what’s happened. Just be patient if someone isn’t ready.
Check in regularly – and keep going past the first year at the very least. Loss never really goes away although the pain does get easier. It’s always appreciated when people remember.

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