Grieving is an active state and personal losses- of someone close to us passing away stay with us forever. There are no fixed timelines to when your friend or relative is going to stop grieving. Most people take time to reach a stage of acceptance and hope. Here are some things you can do to bring comfort to and support a friend during loss.
What You Can Do to Support A Friend During Loss
Chicken Soup for the Soul
Bring a soup, a salad, ramen noodles, a roast, bake a cake, bring a plant or whatever else your friend prefers. In times of grief, it’s often hard to articulate physical and tangible needs. Be mindful of what your friend needs and show up with that. It doesn’t have to be anything big or overwhelming. Simple, generous gestures bring comfort.
You’re the messenger
Often the hardest part about experiencing an emotional ordeal is having to repeat the mundane details several times over to multiple sets of people. Sharing feelings is different from the burden of having to share details on what, when, where of a funeral process. It’s taxing. Take a step forward and help your friend in this repetitive communication process.
It’s okay to cry, mourn or grieve
Do not push your friend towards what you expect to be an ideal state of being. If you think they need help, by all means recommend it. Do not make assumptions about how, when and how much to grieve. Each individual has their own unique journey. It may be different from what you experienced or expected. Crying about loss or talking about the one they lost is cathartic and okay.
Listen and ask how you can help
Listen to understand and let the person share instead of wanting to respond at the smallest opportunity. Make sure that you ask for how you can help. Sometimes the act of asking itself helps push conversation in the right direction. Ask because you genuinely mean it.
Compassion doesn’t equal comparing loss
Every story of loss is unique. Even if you have lost a friend, a grandparent, a parent or anyone else close, comparison doesn’t help. It’s important to show respect for what someone else is dealing with. Here’s very fundamental advice on the art of presence (sharing tips on how to deal with grief)
“Don’t say, “I understand what it’s like to lose a child. My dog died, and that was hard, too.” Even if the comparison seems more germane, don’t make it. Each trauma should be respected in its uniqueness. Each story should be heard attentively as its own thing.” (via)
What are some of the ways in which you’ve helped your friends when they were grieving? Please do share with the community here.