The journey through grief can be a really difficult experience and there are lots of different ways people grieve after a loss. There’s no right or wrong way, and there’s no specific amount of time you should spend doing it.

Much like everyone’s grieving process is different, when someone you love and care about is grieving a loss, there are a lot of different ways you can show your support. Some people may find comfort in material gifts: flowers, cards, gift baskets, or candles are common gifts and can be a nice sentiment for people who are grieving.

More than material gifts, what will likely last in their memories are the moments spent with their family and friends in the time after death.

When My Uncle Peter Passed Away

I can personally attest to this: when my uncle Peter passed away in 2014, there were so many people in the two cities he loved – Detroit and Chicago – who wanted to memorialize him and celebrate his life that our family had to have a memorial in each city simply to accommodate everyone.

Chicago Memorial

While I wasn’t able to personally attend the Chicago memorial, most of the speeches and eulogies given were filmed, so I was able to see the love and comfort that guests were able to provide my family there.

 Suggested Read: Supporting A Loved One During A Loss

What Really Matters To Someone Who Is Grieving

Detroit Memorial

At the Detroit memorial, I met with family members who hadn’t seen me since I was “this tall,” fraternity brothers from his time at Wayne State, and many of his UAW and Teamsters brothers.

To me, he was just my uncle: loud, funny, genuine, and loving Uncle Pete. But to them, especially his UAW and Teamsters friends, he was someone who stood up for their rights when employers tried to do them wrong.

What Really Matters To Someone Who Is Grieving

It was a whole other side of him that I knew existed, but had never really known much about. While we were all appreciative of gifts, hearing all of the stories of his past has stuck with me longer than any of them.

Each Grieving Process Is Different

The grieving process is entirely different for each individual person. Some may be comforted by flowers or gifts that remind them of the deceased. Often, though, simply being there to support someone who is grieving – listening to them, offering to help with tasks, or other small gestures to show you care – will go a long way in helping them through it.

If you’ve experienced a significant loss and grieved, what helped you out the most? Let us know in the comments below.