Whether you’ve personally experienced it or not, grief affects us all in different ways. There is no “right way” to grieve and in turn, we all need different things during these times. Below are a few simple ways to support and help someone who is grieving.
Show Up- Even After the Funeral
When it is all said and done and the services are over, is when it really hits most people. Their loved one is gone and now they might have returned to the house they shared or return to work or even just get back into their “normal” routine. It is often during this time and weeks later that the shock and grief really sets in. Offer to stop by and cook dinner, or take them out for a coffee date, or just show up and do a few housekeeping things.
Respect their Way of Grieving
Grief is not a “one size fits all” feeling and there is no right way to grieve. Some people may wish to share stories about their loved one and show you things that belonged to them, while others might avoid saying their name for six months. Follow their cues and let them know that you are there in whatever way they need. Your presence can be a huge comfort, even in small ways.
Acknowledge that it's Hard
Death is hard, there’s no way around it. The loss of a loved one can leave people angry, lonely and a myriad of other emotions. Something as simple as saying “I know this is hard, but I’m going to be here to support you through this” can make a world of difference as someone grieves their loved one. Acknowledge their emotions and give them a safe space to feel them.
Remember Important Dates & Holidays
The first anything after a loved one dies will be hard, but so will the fourth and fifth and sixth. Mark these days on your calendar and reach out or visit on these days. Remember dates like their loved one’s birthday, the day they passed, or even their anniversary. These days may be harder that the big holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving, so reach out with an encouraging phone call or stop by for a cup of coffee.
Grief affects us all in different ways and we all need different things from our support system after a loss. There are so many things you can do to help a loved one through this time, from being there to help with household chores, spending important dates with them, or simply just being there to listen to them. Follow their lead of what they need and when and just be their friend.