Death in itself is a complicated thing to grasp. If someone you know—be it a friend or a partner—is experiencing the death of a loved one, here are some ways to support them:
Tell them the basics That you’re sorry for their loss, that you love them and you care for them and that you’re there for them when they need you. It’s a little textbook, but even these few words make all the difference in helping someone feel supported and loved.
Send flowers—or better yet—a potted plant that lasts It shows you care, you’re there and you want to help, even if you can’t.
Check in on them every so often They may have trouble reaching out if they feel like a burden. Make sure they know that they’re not.
Don’t avoid the subject You may feel uncomfortable, but it’s guaranteed that they feel worse. Often times, people who are grieving are scared to bring up their loss—by giving them an opportunity to talk about how they feel candidly, you avoid alienating them.
Let them talk to you at their own pace Don’t try to lead the conversation–just be there, listen and offer support.
Don’t expect a reply Just be patient—they may not know what to say, or they may not be in the headspace to offer you one. At the end of the day, they’re going through the worst and they don’t owe you one, so give them some time to respond.
Set a reminder Marking in the difficult days allows you to check in after six months or even a year, which will let your friend know that they are loved and supported when they think everyone has forgotten.
Don’t try to fix it You can’t. All you can do is be there when they need you.
If you knew the departed, help keep their memory alive Share anecdotes, funny stories or treasured moments–it all helps with the grieving process.
If you’ve grieved before, offer any advice you can to make coping easier You may have some valuable tips. Remind them that although it never really goes away, grief changes, and it gets better and more bearable with time.
If you are grieving and are struggling to cope with your loss (or even if you’re not), Griefcase is an online support group with great advice and monthly meet-ups.
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