Supporting Someone Who Is Grieving
Understand the Grieving Process:
- There is no right or wrong way to grieve- Everyone grieves differently.
- Grief may involve extreme emotions or behaviors
- There is no set timetable for grieving. Don’t pressure your loved one to “move on” or make them feel like they’ve been grieving too long.
Tips on How to Support a Grieving Person:
- Listen with compassion– It is easy to get caught up in the fear that you might say the wrong thing, but avoiding the grieving person or changing the subject away from the deceased can be very hurtful. Accept and acknowledge all of the feelings that the person grieving feels and avoid telling them how they “should” and “shouldn’t” feel, no matter how irrational it may seem. Feelings of guilt, anger, and blame are all normal and should be listened to without judgment.
- Be willing to sit in silence- Sometimes there are no words needed. A hug, a squeeze of the hand, or silent presence can be more reassuring and comforting then trying to come up with the “right thing” to say.
- Let the bereaved talk about how their loved one died– They may be struggling to process the “How’s” and “Why’s?” of the persons death. It’s not uncommon for the details of the death to be repeated. With each retelling, the pain lessens, as they process and accept the death.
- Help in practical ways– Instead of saying, “Let me know if you need anything”, say “I am going to the store, can I pick up something for you?” or “I made extra soup last night, can I bring you some?” Offer to help out with tasks, mow the lawn, pick up groceries, etc…
- Provide ongoing support: Continue your support over time. Because the funeral is over and a few months have passed, many assume the grieving person has “moved on” or is “over it”. Grief is a lifelong journey. Remember special dates, such as anniversaries and birthdays and offer extra support. Ask about the loved one and share stories of the deceased, if you have them.
If you are looking to support someone who is grieving and have any questions or concerns, we are available to help. Please call us at the office at (231) 947-6453 or by email at GoodGrief@MyMichaelsPlace.net and talk with one of our grief support staff.