When we see someone we love in pain, we want to solve it – apologize it away, say nice things, encourage positive thinking. It’s human nature; we don’t want our friends or family hurting. But feeling the pain is an important part of the grieving process.
Here are 5 helpful ways to support a bereaved loved one.
Listen. Resist the temptation to therapize or sugar-coat. These instincts all come from a good place, but they will 100% hit a grieving person wrong. Simply sit with your loved one in their pain to hear what they have to say.
Don’t make it about you. We comfort people by trying to relate to them. This can lead to telling someone about the person YOU lost and how YOU dealt with it. Remember that every loss is new and different to the person experiencing it.
Talk about the deceased. Many people are nervous to mention the person who has passed. Barring any fallouts or feuds, families love nothing more than to remember their loved ones fondly and to hear what others loved about them, too.
Do without asking. No one wants to be a bother, even if that someone has recently lost a husband or child. So instead of asking, “Do you want me to make you dinner tonight?” Go ahead and do it.
Show up down the line. When the calls and cards stop is when your loved one will feel most alone in their grief. Stay present in their lives with regular chats, life updates, and coffee meetups.
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