This week’s Senior’s Choice Newsletter contained an article on a difficult subject, that of helping someone who is grieving, and we would like to share it with you.
When someone you care about is grieving, your natural instincts are to help them; to fix this. But most of us are entirely unsure just how to help, so use this guide for assistance:
Don’t try to find the magic words or formula. Don’t fixate on finding the exact right thing to do – there is nothing you can perform to eliminate the pain. Just be there.
Don’t try to make them feel better. A common response to someone who is hurting is “I know how you feel”, which attempts to minimise the pain. In the instance of grief, this approach simply doesn’t work.
Help with daily life tasks. When someone is grieving, it can be hard to maintain responsibilities and regular chores. One thing you can do is help out with errands or household maintenance tasks.
Don’t wait for them to reach out. With the greatest sincerity, we often say “call me if you need anything”. Someone grieving rarely calls; you need to stop by and begin to help. They won’t think to ask, but they’ll be glad you’re there.
Don’t be afraid to say the name of the deceased. It helps a griever to speak of their loved one often, and share stories about them. Don’t avoid them.
Time does not heal all wounds. People grieve on their own timescales – you can’t expect a certain amount of time before they’re ‘fine’. The loss of someone close will change them.
Remind them to take care of themselves. While the bereaved may withdraw from activities for a while, it is of course important to ensure that they take care of themselves.
Avoid judging. Try not to react to their strong emotions, and don’t tell them how to act.
Make a personal commitment to help the one grieving through this. After a death, many friendships change or disintegrate. People often don’t know how to relate to someone grieving, or they find it taxing. Vow to see your friend through this time, to be their anchor.