Watching someone you love go through a loss is never easy. Here are a few ways to support your loved one through grief.
- Regular checkups: The keyword here is regular. Immediately following a death, people make frequent checks on the bereaved. But what about later? Continue to check in on your loved ones on a regular basis. Something as simple as an “I just wanted to say I’m thinking of you,” will help your friend not feel forgotten.
- Listen more, talk less: Listening, rather than giving advice, allows people to express their grief without feeling that grief is a problem needing a solution.
- Sitting in silence: Sometimes the bereaved do not want to talk, so just be with them when that happens. Don’t force them to talk about it or distract them from their grief. Honor and share their silence. Become familiar with the five stages of grief: DABDA- denial, anger, bartering, depression, and acceptance. Your loved one may cycle through these several times a day. Understanding these stages helps your friend to share them with you.
- Just do it! Be pre-emptive. Think of areas where you can provide help, and do it. This could include buying meals, grocery shopping, picking up children, or helping with laundry.
- Don’t be afraid to mention the deceased. People try not to “retraumatize” their loved ones by mentioning the deceased, but this can make your loved ones feel that you are not acknowledging the source of their grief.
- Remember death anniversaries. On these days your loved one might need extra attention and support to get through a day that is exceptionally painful.
- Avoid comparing your losses to theirs. While you might be well-intentioned, it can appear that you’re minimizing and trying to shift the conversation to be about you. Take a break from grief. Grieving people oscillate between confronting their grief head-on and avoiding it. So, when your loved one is tired of sitting in their grief, offer them a chance to engage in a normal activity like watching a movie, golfing, or shopping.
- Encourage them to seek help: a neutral third party who can help to process grief will give the grieving person a structured environment to express and better understand their emotions.
Want to learn how to support a loved one through grief? Please contact us todayto schedule a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation or to book an appointment.
I am a passionate and driven therapist who is committed to helping you achieve your mental health goals. My goal is to provide you with a safe space that will encourage you to explore your struggles, gain insight, challenge assumptions and beliefs about yourself, and appreciate your successes. As a therapist, I specialize in working with individuals facing issues related to anxiety, depression, trauma, stressful life changes, communication, relationships, and social justice.