Grief impacts people in profound ways. As friends and family members, we want to help the people who are hurting the most. Sometimes our offers to help can cause more harm than good. But there are some ways you can be there for someone who is grieving without crossing boundaries. Sometimes, your presence in the right moments can communicate love and comfort in a way that words cannot. Here are some of the ways that you can help someone who is grieving.
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Go With Them to the Memorial Service
Losing someone you love is heartbreaking. The effects can leave people depressed, angry, suicidal, or simply a shell of their former selves. As they process their own grief, there will likely be memorial services, funerals, and other events they will need to show up for. While it can be difficult for them to go, many experts talk about the importance of attending a service for someone you love. If you want to know what to bring to a memorial service, encourage your friend to bring a favorite photo with them to share with others. It can help people to process the pain and loss alongside others who are feeling their own grief. By going with your friend to these services, you show that they are not alone and that you will be there even for the hard things.
Sit Quietly With Them
It’s uncomfortable to sit in silence. But the weight of grief can suck the air out of the room and all words can fail. Sitting quietly with someone who is grieving can bring them comfort in lonely and scary moments. There are no words to be said, just sitting with the weight of emotions that words fail to describe.
Let Them Talk
Sometimes, someone will want to break the silence. They’ll remember something that happened or want to tell you their favorite thing about their loved one. They may even want to share pictures or videos with you. As their friend, it’s important to let them do the talking. Talking helps them process their emotions. It’s okay to acknowledge their feelings, but keep your words brief.
Make Meals for Them
Food is comforting. And while they may not feel hungry, you know as well as anyone else that eating healthy meals is important. When someone is grieving, one incredibly important thing you can do is to bring them meals. Make them a few casseroles to put in the freezer. Give them a gift card to a local restaurant. Have groceries delivered to their door. There are many ways to give them the practical meal solutions they need.
Come Clean Their Home
Sadness can cause people to stop doing everything. This includes taking care of their home. Coming to clean someone’s home when they are in the midst of their grief provides an essential need. Doing laundry, cleaning up messes, doing dishes, and mopping the floors are all practical things you can do to help someone who is grieving. Grief doesn’t go away in an instant. This means that thinking about someone a few months after their loss and helping them out can go a long way to supporting them in their grief.
It’s tempting to want to share what you did after a loss. It’s important, especially in the early days, not to share your personal stories about how you got through grief. Be careful not to make it about yourself. Simply be there and be present when they need you. Additionally, avoid offering advice. While it can be beneficial, you don’t need to be telling your friend to go on walks when they feel sad.
Watch for Signs of Depression
With that said, it’s also important to watch for signs of depression. When someone no longer eats, they stop sleeping well at night, or they start drinking excessively, these are indicators that depression might be setting in. If you notice these signs, it’s okay to gently suggest that your friend get professional counseling to help them in their grief.
If your friend is religious, let them know you are praying for them to be comforted in their grief. Many faiths have prayers for those who are grieving. Don’t be pushy about religious things but do ask if they would like you to pray for them. Religious faith can be a great comfort when people are grieving.