You feel helpless when a friend or a family member loses a loved one. You face a sudden splash of emotions, making you blank and clueless about how to respond or what to say to calm and console them. We cheer them up by pointing out the positives and reminding them to keep trying to move on.
Well-intentioned as we may be, those efforts tend to pressure them and leave them feeling invalidated. Instead, here’s how to comfort someone and support your friend in times of need.
Know that the funeral is just the beginning
While funeral and burial arrangements can keep you occupied, loneliness usually strikes hardest in the days and weeks after the service. While there are various steps and tasks involved in grieving, they are rarely sequential or finished in a straight line. Everybody’s mourning process is unique and may take more or less time than expected. Stay in touch with your buddy in the days, weeks, or months following the funeral, and be prepared to step in with a quick meal or anything they might need.
Make yourself available
Although it might seem apparent, your friends need to know they can depend on you in difficult times. The simple things matter, whether providing a shoulder to weep on or buying cat food at the pet store. The situation demands that you take it more seriously when your friend is grieving. Make it a point to let your buddy know you are available, and show it by sending follow-up invites to hang out or bring food. While you are not required to free up your complete schedule, remember that someone grieving a loss will value your time more than anything else.
Reach out with purpose
When a loved one passes away, it can be easy to distance yourself from your pals. However, it would be best if you didn’t wait too long to send them a note or some of their favorite foods. Feeling supported is critical because grieving may be incredibly isolating and lonely, especially for women.
Be ready to listen
Listening can be challenging at times. But it’s crucial to keep your friend in mind. Listening is the most vital action you can take. Be present. While still allowing them their space, offer a listening base. Take part in their wailing because it naturally serves as a healing ministry. Grieving is a solitary process; sometimes, all they need is a sympathetic ear or a fellow Netflix companion.
Take note of the subtle clues
After a death, the main concern is frequently “What can I do?” But occasionally, your companion won’t be able to communicate the requirements to you. For example, you have a great chance to help without being asked because your friend might not realize that the apartment is messy or that the fridge is empty. Unknown to you, a short vacuuming job or a bag of groceries from the market can signify much more.
Set aside any deadlines
The mourning person could struggle longer than expected. If this occurs, allow them to grieve for whatever length they need to, knowing that you won’t criticize them for it, no matter how irritating or terrifying it may be for you.
Know the different phases of grief
Denial, bargaining, anger, sadness, and acceptance are the phases most people experience a loss through, frequently in any specific sequence and repetition. The more you are aware of these phases, the more prepared you will be to learn how to support and comfort a mourning friend.
Know the types of grieving
Grief is never the same for two people at the same time. The cause and duration of the loss, the mourning person’s resilience, prior experiences, the size of their support system, and their attachment to the deceased are all factors. Recognize how this may alter their experience of grief compared to how you or someone else you know experienced it.
Resist telling them how strong they are
We frequently tend to give praise to someone who seems to be dealing with a loss. The issue is that we need to provide room to be vulnerable and human. After all, expressing your feelings is a sign of strength.
Give the grieving people ideas for remembrance
Funerals and memorial services help the grieving by providing comfort and closure. Other forms of memorialization include tree planting, letter writing, and holding meetings to remember. One way is to give them a cremation jewelry bracelet or a cremation urn that serves as a beautiful way of memorializing their loved ones and keeping them close forever.
Find out what they require
It’s common to think you can guess what your friend needs from what you may require if you were in their shoes. It’s best to ask them what you can do for them as everyone is different.
Keep checking in on them
Many people provide assistance and support to the bereaved at funerals. Everyone’s lives progress as the weeks and months go by, and they frequently fail to follow up on their offers of assistance and support. Be the person who follows up. You don’t have to give all your energy, but your caring will be appreciated and provide untold comfort.