Everyone deals with grief differently, and that goes for the people outside of it too. When a friend or family member is experiencing grief, we can often come up at a loss of ways to support them that display empathy without making things worse. However, there are some simple and effective ways that you can show support to a loved one who is experiencing grief. Find out how to help them handle it to assist in their recovery.
Offer to Help Around The House
After a friend or family member’s loss, they could be facing a backlog of home care tasks, especially if the person they lost handled many of them. Offer practical help, such as cooking dinners, washing clothes, taking kids to school, or mowing the lawn. A pair of helping hands can do all the talking if you aren’t sure what to say. Stay away from general offers for help, as it’s unlikely that the person will ever call on you, and instead offer to help with specific tasks (or just start doing them if your relationship allows).
Give Them Understanding
Everyone processes grief in different ways and someone who seems to be recovering could easily relapse after a triggering event. They could experience a wide range of emotions that seemingly come out of nowhere, including the following:
- And more
It’s important to treat these episodes as not representative of your friends or family members and to not let them get in the way of your relationship. Eventually, they will return to a normal sense of themself or may require additional therapy to aid the healing process if they are experiencing an anxiety disorder or complicated grief.
Ask Specific Questions
Asking someone “how are you?” after they’ve experienced a loss can seem helpful, but it’s too vague to be useful to assist the person in question. It can also make them feel as if you’re just going through the motions to appear concerned for their well-being. Ask specific questions about their welfare to show you care about them and are interested in how they’re recovering. This can open the door to more meaningful conversations about how they’ve been since their loss.
Inform Them of Their Legal Rights
While it can be a delicate subject, it’s possible that the person experiencing a loss is entitled to compensation. If you think it’s within the scope of your relationship, you might want to bring this up with the person in question. Helping the surviving family members seek compensation could be your greatest contribution to them in the wake of their loss, especially if they weren’t aware of their qualifications.
Listen to Them
Grief can be a lonely experience, and those with it can be reluctant to share everything they are thinking and feeling at the time. You could provide a great service by offering to “go there” with them. Doing so could strengthen your relationship with them while giving them an outlet to express feelings they may not have shared with anyone yet.
Check In on Them
Grief won’t end after the first month (or even year) of someone’s loss. It’s likely that certain days of the year, like Valentine’s Day or Mother’s or Father’s Day, will forever be different due to their loss. Keep in touch with the person who lost someone and reminds them you’re here for them.
Aiding someone through their grief after losing a family member can seem like an impossible task at times, but there are a few things you can do to make sure they know you’re sincerely thinking of them.