Emotional Wellbeing

Mandy Kloppers

How to comfort someone who lost a loved one

When someone we love dies, it feels like a part of us has been ripped away. We are left with an emptiness that can be hard to fill. Grieving is the process of coping with this loss and trying to come to terms with our new reality. For many people, it is a long and difficult journey. And it’s important to remember that the journey will be different for everyone.

Comforting someone who has lost a loved one doesn’t have to be complicated. There are some simple things you can do to support your partner during this difficult time.

Learn about grief

Understanding the grieving process can help you to be more sympathetic and supportive. Grief is a natural reaction to loss. It is the process of dealing with the pain of losing someone. Everyone grieves differently.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Some people might cry a lot, while others might not show their emotions at all. Some people might become withdrawn and isolate themselves, while others might seek out support from friends and family. It’s important to remember that there is no correct way to grieve. Just as there is no time limit on grief, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to coping with it.

Be present

First and foremost, just be there. Let them know that you are available to listen, offer a shoulder to cry on, or sit in silence together. Avoid trying to fix the situation or offer empty platitudes like “everything happens for a reason.” Just be present and let them grieve in their own way and at their own pace.

If you feel like their grief has become too much for them to handle, you can be there to suggest additional support such as grief counselling. But don’t feel like you need to be the one to offer this specialist support. It’s okay to refer to the experts once you have

Offer to lighten the load

Offer practical support where you can. This might include helping with funeral arrangements, running errands, or taking care of household chores. If your partner is struggling to eat or take care of themselves, make sure they have access to nutritious meals and snacks. And if they need a break from caring for their elderly family members, children or pets, you can be there to help lighten their load.

Be patient

Grieving can be a long and difficult process. It can take months or even years to come to terms with the loss of a loved one. And during this time, your partner might have good days and bad days. They might seem like they are getting better and then suddenly regress. It’s important to be patient and understand that this is part of the grieving process. If you want to support your partner, make sure they know they have your unconditional love.

Avoid making comparisons

When comforting someone who is grieving, avoid making comparisons to your own experiences or those of other people. This can invalidate their feelings and make them feel like they are not allowed to grieve. Everyone grieves differently, so try not to compare their experience to your own or anyone else’s.

Even if you experienced something very similar recently, the way you grieve is unique to you. So avoid making assumptions about how your partner is feeling or how they should be handling their grief. They shouldn’t be made to feel any pressure to grieve in a particular way.

Respect their wishes

When someone is grieving, it’s important to respect their wishes. If they want to be left alone, don’t try to force them to socialise. And if they don’t want to talk about their feelings, don’t push them. It’s okay to give them space and time to grieve in their own way.

If you’re not sure what they need, just ask. The worst thing you can do is try to guess and then get it wrong. By asking directly, you show that you care and want to support them in the best way possible.

Be their voice

Grief can make some people retreat, which can be stressful for friends and family who would like to be kept in the loop. You can step up in this situation and help to keep friends and family informed. This could be about funeral arrangements, support groups or just how they are doing in general. Just make sure you check in with your partner first to see if this is something they would like you to do.

Know when to step back

There will come a point where your partner will start to grieve without you. This is a natural and necessary part of the healing process. And while it can be difficult to watch, it’s important to let them go through this process in their own way and at their own pace.

You might find that your role changes as they start to heal. They might not need your support as much, or they might want to spend more time alone. And that’s okay.