How to Comfort Someone Who Is Grieving
Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.
While everyone deals with grief differently, those are the widely accepted stages of grief initially named by psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in 1969. At some point, everyone is going to personally deal with grief and possibly need to seek support—whether it be from a professional, family member, or friend.
Because grief is a part of life, it’s important that we know how to deal with it, as well as how to help others who are going through an emotionally turbulent time.
In this post, we break down how to comfort someone who is grieving and other ways you can offer support.
Be Present for Them
One of the best ways to help someone who is grieving is staying present and being a shoulder that they can lean on.
It’s easy to send condolences and plead with your friend or family member to let you know if they ever need anything, but you also need to make sure you’re capable of offering the support they need.
Some ideal ways to help grieving friends or family members include:
- Offer to Babysit or Pet Sit: Sometimes, those who are grieving just need some time to reflect. You can help your loved one with this by helping them build a quiet space that’s free from distractions.
- Share Stories & Memories: Stories and memories can be powerful. If you knew the person who passed away, tell stories about them to friends and family members who are grieving. Although it can’t change what happened, it can at least help them remember how to smile and laugh.
- Don’t Give Advice: Simply listening can do wonders for someone grieving. It can be difficult to know what to say to someone who is grieving. Sometimes it’s just better to listen. They aren’t looking for advice—they’re looking for comfort and acceptance.
- Offer Gifts: You don’t have to be extreme with this. Offer your friend or family member houseplants, blankets, a necklace, or anything that will help them remember that they have friends who care.
We mentioned the five stages of grief at the start of this post, but it’s also important to remember that everyone grieves differently. Some people may take years to accept a loss that they’ve suffered, while others may be able to move more quickly through the grieving process. It’s important to be patient with your friend or family member who is grieving and allow them the time they need. Accepting the loss of a loved one isn’t something that happens overnight. There are ups and downs along the way as people adjust to a new normal.
Help Connect Them With Others
Meeting and speaking with others who are also grieving can be helpful and therapeutic. There are many grief support groups out there. Being around other individuals who are willing to meet and share their story and journey through the grieving process may help remind your loved one that there are many others going through similar situations, and that the grief journey doesn’t need to be one that’s traveled alone.
If your loved one isn’t ready to meet in person with others, there are online forums that may be helpful as well.
Offer Practical Help
As previously mentioned, individuals who are grieving are very likely to experience depression, and in that depression, they may neglect themselves, work obligations, and household tasks. In addition to being a listening ear for them, you can also provide assistance with certain tasks, including:
- Preparing, Cooking, & Delivering Meals
- Cleaning Out the Deceased’s Belongings
- Assisting with Funeral Arrangements or Memorial Services
- Taking Your Loved One Out (to Lunch, the Movies, etc.)
Remember the Anniversary
One of the worst mistakes you can make is not remembering the deceased. This is always likely to be an emotional, difficult day for your loved one. Sending your loved one a card, planning a special visit, or accompanying your loved one to the deceased’s gravesite to pay respects all make for nice ways to honor the anniversary and show support for your loved one.
Get Additional Grief Support from Wujek-Calcaterra
At Wujek-Calcaterra & Sons, we understand how challenging grief can be. For over 25 years, we’ve been a trusted resource for families and individuals in Michigan. In addition to providing custom memorial and funeral services, we also provide grief support. Fill out our online form today to learn more about how we can help you and any loved ones who are dealing with loss.