When a friend or family member is experiencing grief, there is a role you can play in helping them through the hard times. Consider these tips.
Ask how you can help. Try to take a few tasks off their plate. Your loved ones might not know what they need and there are many ways you can help. Consider making meals and delivering them, shoveling their driveway or mowing their lawn. Even the smallest actions can go a long way when someone is grieving.
Be respectful of their coping methods. Reserve judgement. Whatever their reaction, grieving is normal and everyone experiences it differently. Listen and let them talk as much as they need to, but also be comfortable with silence.
Be patient. Grief doesn’t fade with the funeral flowers. Let your loved one know on a regular basis that you’re aware they’re still in pain. Continue to be there for them for as long as they need.
“There’s plenty of support following a loss, during the initial period of shock – but that support may dwindle long before the need for it fades,” explains Sean Marenger, a branch manager at Arbor Memorial.
“In the weeks following a death, don’t let the fear of saying the wrong thing keep you from reaching out – there is never a wrong time to help.”
When offering your support, remember that grief is a process, not an event – and it takes time.