Undoubtedly, grief can feel overwhelming and shattering, especially when someone has lost a loved one. Hence, if any of your friends are going through this tough time, don’t hesitate to offer your support. It might be hard to console a grieving friend because nothing you do or say helps but don’t lose hope. Accept that you can’t fix the situation and avoid presenting a positive outlook toward the future. You have to understand that grief is a gradual process, and only time can heal people.
Although you can’t take the pain away, your presence, care, and support will help your friend cope with the pain. Even small gestures such as sending flowers or delivering meals can be a huge source of comfort to the grieving person. Therefore, make yourself flexible and open to the person’s way of grieving. For instance, if your friend wants to talk about the deceased soul, try to listen without asking any questions.
However, if you find yourself tongue-tied or afraid of saying the wrong thing, let us help you out. Here we are highlighting five ways to help a friend who has lost a loved one.
1.Offer Practical Assistance
After suffering a huge loss, people aren’t in a position to think or make decisions. At the same time, it is arduous for a grieving person to ask for help since they fear being a burden to others. Thus, even if your grieving friend doesn’t call for help, reach out yourself. Instead of saying ‘let me know if you need something,’ you could say, ‘I’m going to the market, what do you need?’ Similarly, if your friend is responsible for funeral arrangements, offer help.
If the funeral is after a couple of weeks, you can engage in funeral pre planning to make arrangements beforehand. You can even help with the insurance bill, death certificate, and other paperwork. Having consistent support from friends would comfort the grieving person. They would know you will be there for as long as it takes and can count on you without making any additional effort.
2.Listen More, Talk Le
In the presence of a person mourning the loss of a loved one, you might not know what to say. Naturally, you would want to make your friend feel better, but no talking helps in such situations. Therefore, calmly listen to your friend without asking any sensitive or nosy questions. People who are grieving want to tell the story repeatedly with details. It is their way of accepting death, which means you have to be patient and listen compassionately.
In addition, try not to make things awkward and let your friend know that it’s okay to cry, get angry, or break down. Expressing emotions and talking to others helps them cope with the pain and heal. After all, grief is a highly emotional experience, so no matter what, let your friends cry their hearts out.
3.Provide Ongoing Support
Until the funeral, your friend would be receiving condolences, but after that, everyone would be busy in their lives. However, your friend will continue mourning even after the funeral is over. And this is the time when your friend needs your support the most. It would help if you stayed in touch with your friend, drop by every evening with dinner, or send letters.
Most importantly, don’t make assumptions based on mere outward appearances. Often, people look fine from the outside, but they are suffering. Likewise, avoid telling your friend that they are strong. It puts pressure on the person to hide their true feelings and keep up appearances.
4.Talk about their Loved One
Losing a loved one is an inexplicable experience. Even being the most important person, talking about them becomes taboo after their death. Hence, your friend might be eager to talk about the person they lost, which means you should actively participate in the conversation. Maybe, you can discuss their past experiences, share stories, and listen to what your friend is telling.
Talking about the lost loved ones lets your friend relive the memories, making them feel present somehow. However, you should never force your friend to talk about this if they are reluctant. For some people, processing the incident and death is traumatizing; hence, it may take time to open up.
5.Look out for Warning Signs of Depression
Undeniably, it is normal for a grieving individual to feel depressed and disconnected from the world. But sometimes, the symptoms last longer than usual, acting as warning signs of clinical depression. Perhaps, your friend might start feeling more anxious as time passes, leading to severe anxiety. Likewise, many people face difficulty functioning in daily life and experience constant feelings of hopelessness. In such instances, you have to convince your friend to seek professional help before their condition worsens.
Indeed, bringing up the topic of therapy can be tricky since you don’t want to leave the wrong impression, but it is crucial. You can begin by stating your feelings to the friend: ‘I’m stressed that you aren’t sleeping or eating properly – you should seek help.’ Showing concern and sympathy would make your friend understand that you are looking out for them, ensuring they don’t feel offended or intrigued.
To most people, losing a loved one feels like a part of them has died. In this challenging time, people need the constant support of friends and family to deal with the loss. If you are helping your grieving friend, understand there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Some people feel depressed, while others become anxious. You have to look out for your friend, offer support, and be a great listener. Having someone by their side will help them heal a lot quicker.