Supporting someone close to you who is grieving can feel like a difficult and sometimes awkward situation. It’s hard to know what to say for the best, unfortunately, your words can’t take the pain away but there are ways in which you can show your support, and have them know that you’re there for them during this emotional and upsetting time in their life.
The smallest of gestures can make the biggest difference, whether that be a card, text message, or bouquet of flowers. Make them aware that you’re there for them if they need a shoulder to cry on or someone just to simply talk to.
During this time, you may find that you have to flex your schedule and be mindful that this person might need you more than usual. It’s important that you don’t make them feel as though they’re a hassle, this will only make them feel worse. These simple steps can really make all the difference.
Offer to help
When you’re going through the stages of the grieving process, even the most basic everyday tasks can feel like an uphill struggle. Offer to lend a helping hand with cooking dinner, doing the washing up, and cleaning up the house. When we’re grieving, the normal tasks can go out of the window but it’s important to make sure they’re eating well and living in a hygienic environment.
Listen don’t judge
It’s important that you act as a soundboard and encourage the person to let out their emotions and discuss how they’re feeling. Try and hold back from advising them with your own opinions, instead be sympathetic and understanding. Offer advice only when it is asked for and let them know you’re always there to listen.
Talk about them
We tend to naturally tread on eggshells around the loss of a loved one, but don’t be afraid to name them in conversation. Although it may trigger emotions and tears, you can’t hide from the fact they’ve passed and it can help to reminisce over the past, talk about memories and remember the good times when they were here.
Help to plan
When grieving and getting over the loss of someone you love, the last thing you want to be tackling is the admin of planning a funeral. If your friend or family member is in charge of the funeral, the first step is to help them seek advice from experts to understand the different funeral plans available, the costs involved and finding a funeral director that feels right for them. There are a lot of decisions to be made and costs to think about so it can be a big relief when you have someone to help, alongside the knowledge of an expert.
Go for dinner
It sounds so simple, but offering to take them out can actually make a big difference. We all cope with grief differently, and while some of us will crave the company of others to see them through this difficult time, others will hide away. This is dangerous territory and by encouraging them to get out of the house you could be helping them to avoid a downward spiral.
Wendy Whitehead worked as a teaching assistant at two special needs schools in London before embarking on a different career as a marketing consultant. Her passion for special education still remains with her, however. She is passionate about mental health and well-being and she write articles in these areas. Wendy did her undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of Leicester. She later on did a short course in counselling from the University of Hertfordshire.