When a loved one is grieving, it can be difficult to know what words to say or even what to do. We want to help our loved one while respecting their need for privacy and space. We don’t want to overstep that awkward boundary and say the wrong thing or be too intrusive. However, offering support and comfort to a loved one is important and can help both individuals feel better. Although we can’t take away our loved one’s pain, we can help them on their journey to healing.

Nourish The Soul

Think about your loved one. What would bring them the most comfort? Perhaps it’s soothing food like soup, a favorite casserole, or dessert. A plant or flowers can add instant cheer to a room. If your loved one needs a laugh, bring over a comedy and watch it together. Taking care of children can be extra exhausting when trying to heal. Offer to babysit or take the children out of the house for a few hours. Pamper them with a spa treatment or massage certificate. Even tickets to a ball game can be a wonderful distraction. Comforting a loved one doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Sometimes, just sitting with someone is enough. Simple, thoughtful gestures can console and lessen a loved one’s suffering.

Suggested Read: Why A Hug Is Important For Your Wellbeing

Be The Messenger

Repeatedly conveying the service and event details to friends and family can be emotionally draining for a family. Ask if you can help by sharing the event details with those who need to know.

Allow Space For Grief

Grieving is a process that takes times, and it’s hard work. Be patient with a loved one. There is no set timetable for grief, and everybody grieves differently. A loved one may feel apathetic toward friends and activities for a while. Sadness robs us of energy. Mentally and physically, a loved one may temporarily want to take “time off” from life. However, if you feel a loved one needs to talk with a professional, don’t be afraid to suggest it. Although crying is a body’s way of purging strong emotions, it can make others feel uncomfortable because they feel helpless. Allow a loved one the space to cry. It may not only relieve their stress, but is therapeutic and cathartic as well.

What You Can Do to Support A Friend During Loss?

Show Compassion

Every story of loss is unique. Whether you have lost a friend, parent, grandparent or child, comparison will not help your loved one through their experience. It’s important to show respect for each person’s unique journey. Showing compassion can take the form of active listening, a gentle touch, an act of kindness, or gentle words.

Listen

Listening is often the only thing needed to help someone. ~ Anonymous When somebody is sad, it’s natural to want to offer advice to make them feel better. However, when people are grieving, they need to walk through the pain. Listening to a loved one gives that individual an opportunity to process their emotions. In addition, we gain knowledge by listening. Through the art of listening, we can discover what help a loved one truly needs in order to heal. Consequently, listening is often the best help one can provide.

Additional Rescources: Supporting a Loved One During Loss