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 through grief, particularly when you haven’t experienced 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.
How to help someone through grief
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.