It’s often hard to offer comfort to the bereaved—whether it’s a relative, a colleague, or a friend. The loss of a loved one undoubtedly causes immense pain, and it’s a life-altering experience. In most cases, words may not be enough to console a grieving person. And not saying anything can make the bereaved feel isolated.
Coping mechanisms with grief differ from one person to another. Some may recover faster while some take time to process how they’re feeling. Nonetheless, you can always do something to help.
Find out how to comfort a grieving person appropriately by knowing the right words to say and offering the right kind of support. You can do the following things as soon as you’re informed of the loss:
∙ Contacting the family to extend your condolences
∙ Sending out flowers for sympathy occasions with a written note
∙ Visiting the family as soon as possible
∙ Attending the wake and the funeral or memorial service
Losing a loved one impacts an individual in different ways, and the focus should be directed to mental health care since it’s the most critical element for coping and recovery. These actions will certainly be appreciated by the bereaved:
One of the best types of support you can give is to understand the aspects of grieving. Knowing that each experience may be unique helps you get rid of unrealistic expectations about grieving, which may add undue pressure to a bereaved person.
These principles can help you understand the process better:
There’s no one way to grieve, and the bereaved could experience ups and downs. Some may feel better after crying non-stop for a day or two and have these bouts again in the coming months. Others may need to cry for weeks on end before the recovery stage.
As mentioned, grieving impacts an individual in different ways. Some need months while some people take years to move on from grieving to acceptance.
It’s often difficult to know what to say to a grieving person. In this case, it may be best to speak less and listen more. Here’s a rundown of the things you can do to help improve the mental well-being of a bereaved person:
∙ Ask how the person is feeling.
∙ Never assume you know how a bereaved person feels.
∙ Don’t avoid the topic of death or the deceased individual.
∙ Acknowledge the loss.
∙ Be there to listen compassionately.
One of the best types of support you can offer to a grieving person is to listen without judgment. Never stop them from expressing outbursts, guilt, and other displays of intense emotions. Take heed of these tips to offer mental health support:
∙ Concentrate your efforts on listening to the person
∙ Don’t make it all about you
∙ Never compare their grief to yours
∙ Don’t tell them how they should feel and why
Sometimes, well-meaning words can hurt a bereaved person. Saying things like, ‘You’ll get over it soon,’ may sound encouraging to the one who’s saying it, but a grieving person may interpret it as a form of trivializing a major life event.
Grieving persons often find it hard to seek help. They may be feeling depressed or don’t want to be a burden to others. So, don’t hesitate to proactively offer assistance such as helping with the post-funeral or burial activities, running errands, driving them to the shop, looking after the children, the house and the pets, and so on.
In some cases, you can take them out for a date or an out-of-town trip to have fun. At home, you can do things together to make the person feel less isolated. With these, you’ll have reasons to visit the person and see how they’re doing. Even if your friend looks good on the outside, it doesn’t mean they’re not suffering on the inside.
You can’t ascertain when a person gets through with the grieving process. But one thing’s for sure—if you see your loved one struggling to go through the process, it’s all the more important to offer consistent support.
A grieving person is expected to go through a roller-coaster of emotions. There are times they’d become irritable, want to be left by themselves, or become overwhelmed with emotions. If these feelings don’t disappear or get worse over time, encourage the person to talk to a therapist.
Mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being—and these are typically the first to suffer during the grieving process. With unwavering support from friends, family members, and colleagues, most eventually learn how to cope with the loss and move on with their lives.
You can support a loved one, a friend, or a colleague by understanding the process, offering your support, and helping the person seek professional help. The tips discussed in this article can help you show care and comfort to a person who’s suffering from a loss.