When a loved one has recently experienced a loss, it is natural to want to be there to comfort and support them. However, there are many ways that people think that they are helping their loved one with grief that are not actually very helpful. Learning the ways that you can most effectively help a grieving loved one can enable you to provide optimal support throughout this difficult time. Here are a few ways that you can help a grieving loved one.
It is easy to second guess yourself and your decisions when you are trying to help someone who is grieving. Even if you don’t know exactly what to say, it is still important to take the time to reach out to your loved one. Simply by reaching out, you can ensure that your loved ones know that you are there for them and that you care.
Be a Good Listener
Effective grief support tends to revolve around listening more and talking less. Allow your loved one the space that they need to vent their emotions. Just listening to them can often help them to sort out their emotions and aid in the healing process.
Respect their Grieving Process
There is no single “correct” way to grieve. When you are supporting your loved one through their grief, it is essential to understand this and allow them to grieve in whatever way they need to. This may mean going out for a distraction or staying home, where it is comfortable. Ask them what you can do to support them, but don’t try and guide them through the grieving process. This is their own process that they will do in their own way.
Accept Mood Swings
Mood swings are incredibly common during the grieving process. Your loved one might seem to be doing well one moment and having an emotional crisis the next. It is important to accept these mood swings and never make your loved one feel “crazy” or guilty for experiencing these emotions. You should also refrain from telling them how they should feel in any circumstances.
Avoid Trying to Explain their Loss or Offer Platitudes
Many people offer platitudes after a substantial loss, such as “they are in a better place” or “death must come for all of us.” These platitudes are often worse than useless. They don’t provide much comfort for the grieving individual and may even make them feel that their grief process is unacceptable or strange in some way.
Help Out with Practical Matters
One of the most supportive things that you can do for a loved one that is grieving is to offer help for practical matters. They may have multiple offers for a shoulder to cry on, but fewer people think about the practical things. Offer to pick up their groceries for them or give them a ride somewhere they need to go. This can help to take extra stress off of their shoulders and allow them to have more space to grieve. You may also want to offer to help them with the arrangements.
Acknowledge there is no Set Timetable for Grieving
As mentioned before, everyone grieves differently. This also means that the grieving process will take a different amount of time for each person. Never rush a loved one or make them feel like they are taking too long to move past their loss.
Avoid Offering Advice
Offering advice is often counterproductive when your loved one is grieving. What worked for you may not work for another person. Though you may feel like this advice is useful, it may actually cause them to feel as though they aren’t grieving “correctly” which can delay the grieving process.
Some people have different ways of coping than others. For example, some may need to talk about their feelings, while others may withdraw. Be comfortable providing silent support for your loved one. Don’t press them if they don’t want to talk.
Refrain from Offering Comparisons
In the midst of grief is not a useful time to offer comparisons. Though these may well be made with the best of intentions, it can still be construed as diminishing their own pain or pressuring them to follow your own grieving process.
Don’t Diminish their Pain
Many people try to ease the pain that their loved ones experience by pointing out ways in which the situation could have been worse. Never do this when someone is grieving. It is painful and can make their feelings seem illegitimate.
Never Try to Fix Them
There is nothing wrong with your loved one because they are grieving. Never try to fix them. Provide them with support and space to undertake their own healing journey.
You don’t like to see your loved ones in pain. Following these steps can help you to support your loved ones through their grieving process. To learn more about the best ways to provide your loved ones with support during their grieving process, contact us at Russon Brothers Mortuary today!