Dealing with the loss of a loved one and the many emotions that form the grieving process can be challenging enough, but knowing how best to comfort someone through such a difficult time can be hard on supporting friends and family too. Those in a position to support the grieving can often feel useless and unsure of how they can help. We have compiled five useful ideas regarding how to offer support and kindness on a practical and emotional level.
1) Communicate, communicate, communicate
Keeping the lines of communication open is key. Whether that’s directly asking the bereaved what you can do to help, or simply checking in with them on a regular basis. They need to know you’re there to support them – so make sure you tell them that and keep reminding them too.
2) Everyone is different
It’s important to remember that everyone handles grief differently. Some people may completely crumble and others may kick into practical mode, taking charge of every task that needs to be actioned. People will grieve for different lengths of time too, so don’t rush your friend or family member or expect too much too soon. Some people may wish to be left to their own thoughts to mourn their loss, whilst others may crave company and distraction. Let the bereaved guide you with their own needs – be sure you’re offering what they need, not what you think they need.
3) Practicality is essential
Being practical during the grieving process is essential. Certain things will need doing, regardless of how the bereaved are feeling. An offer of practical support is often a relief when things may feel overwhelming. Whether you help with the funeral arrangements, cook them some meals, help out with childcare, assist with handling the deceased’s belongings or offer any other form of practical support, your time may be exactly what is needed.
4) Be ready to listen
Sometimes talking about the loved one that has been lost can be one of the most therapeutic stages of the grieving process. Gone but not forgotten – it can be comforting to let the bereaved reminisce about happy times and share precious memories. So, be prepared to listen and don’t be afraid to share your fond memories, too.
5) Ongoing support
When the funeral is over and most people’s lives begin to return to normal, the bereaved can feel more lost and lonely than ever. Don’t forget to keep your support going for as long as it’s needed. Just because the final farewell has taken place, doesn’t mean that your friend or family member isn’t still having bad days and tough times. Keep checking in and offering your comfort and company.Go Back