Helping someone who is grieving:


1. Don't try to find the magic words or formula to stop the pain, hurt, or sadness.

Nothing can erase or minimize the pain or tragedy of your friend or loved one is going through. The best thing you can do at this time is simply be there for them. Don't worry about what to say or do, just being present so when the person needs someone to lean on your available.

2. Steer clear of cliches

A grieving individual's pain or crying can make people very uncomfortable. When someone we care about is in pain or crying we may attempt to make them feel better or try to minimize the pain. Telling them things like: 

  • "They are in a better place"
  • "Perhaps it was for the best"
  • "I know how you feel"

These quotes will not minimize their hurt or ease the pain. While this can work in some instances it never works with grief. Each person's grief is as unique individual as they are.

3. Help with responsibilities

Even though a life has ended, tasks and other duties need to be done. Instead of telling the grieving individual to call if you need anything; stop by or call to assist with:

  • Errands
  • Prepare a meal
  • Take care of children 
  • Call and say I'm running to the store do you need anything...........or would you like for me to pick up some.................
  • Help with maintenance, yard work, laundry. 

A grieving individual is overwhelmed and picking up the phone and asking for help is difficult.

4. Listen........Listen.........Listen

While working through their grief, many individuals report having difficulty making decisions, remembering, and/or concentrating. They may repeat the same story or need you to be a sounding board, or just need to talk about the difficulties they are experiencing.

5. Talk about the deceased and don't be afraid to say the name of the deceased.

Those who have lost someone usually speak of them often.  Believe it or not those who are grieving need to hear the deceased's name and stories. Most appreciate hearing the person's name and/or having someone share a memory or story of their loved one.

6. Time does not heal all wounds.

Your friend or loved one will change because of what has happened. I often tell people how deeply you have loved someone, is the depth of your grief. Some individuals will be "fine" shortly after the death and then experience their true grief a year later, others grieve right away. There is no right way or timetables,  or rules. Just be patient with your friend or loved one. Understand the individual will still yearn and miss the individual who has died. Anniversaries, birthdays or holidays can often trigger a grieving individual. 

7. Remind them to care themselves:

Eating, sleeping and self-care are all difficult tasks when dealing with the emotions of grief. You can help by:

  • Bring by healthy snacks
  • Easy prepared food
  • Help with the laundry
  • Do some of the yard work
  • Household chores

They may not be ready or have the energy to daily routine. However, do not push the bereaved individual to something they may not be ready for. Cleaning out a closet or clothes or other items of the deceased may be very upsetting for a grieving individual. Take your lead from or friend or loved one. They will indicate to you if that is not what they would like done.

8. Avoid Judging:

Don't tell the person how to react, handle their emotions or situation. Simply let them know, you support their decisions and will be there to help any possible way. As I said earlier there is no right way to grieve and is unique as each person who grieves.

9. Make a personal commitment to help the one grieving get through this:

After a death many friendships change or disintegrate. People don't know how to relate to the one, who is grieving, or they get tired of being around someone who is sad. Vow to see your friend or loved one through this to be their support.

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