At some point in life, everyone will experience a death in a friend, relative, or loved one. There’s no easy way to cope other than allowing oneself to grieve and process their emotions. It’s perfectly acceptable to help those close to you with their grief. Consider some of these simple ways to support someone who is grieving while you offer your condolences.
One of the best ways to counsel someone during a recent loss is to be there and listen. Active listening requires patience, silence, and respect. If someone you know is going through a grieving process, be there for them. Let them talk about their feelings without judgement. While you cannot bandage their pain, active listening shows you care about their tragedy. Avoid giving advice or trying to explain the loss too. Everyone goes through their own methods of grievance, so let them talk it over while you listen.
Respect Their Grief
Relatedly, grief is no binary experience. Everyone experiences grief differently. Some feel an overburdening sadness. Others may feel emotionless and numb. Still, some may even feel relieved if their loved one was experiencing pain through a terminal illness. The most important thing for you is to respect their right to grieve as they see fit. Don’t be surprised if they experience mood swings. As with any loss, it takes time to process and move on.
Help Them Process Their Loss
Grieving may numb you from accomplishing basic tasks. Whether that’s cleaning the house, taking care of children or pets, or even self-care, processing a loss takes a lot of mental energy that impedes one’s ability to act. Even if the griever acts the opposite and feels an overwhelming sense of energy to tackle chores or other projects, remember that this isn’t healthy. They should use this time to grieve and process the recent death. One way to help them through this burdensome time is through a sympathy gift basket. While some gift baskets may include food or beverage, consider ones with practical items, like cleaning supplies, self-care supplies, or entertainment for young children. Lightening their responsibilities will help the griever use this time to process recent events.
Another simple way to support someone who is grieving is to remain available. Grief has no timetable. Some people may take weeks or months to move on, while others may take years. Some people never fully get over the loss of a friend, relative, or loved one—and that’s okay. The important thing is you remain available to help. Be patient. Check in on the bereaved person often to ensure they are also taking care of their own well-being.