Throughout our lives there will be moments when we ourselves or someone we love will experience loss. It could be for a number of things- loss of a loved one, pet, divorce, job, or a traumatic event that has taken place. Whatever the tragedy, sometimes it can be difficult to know how to help get through a situation and be supportive. Contingent on the significance of the loss, the grief may vary. But despite the differences there are some things you can do to help.
Hearing happy memories is a good place to start. Recalling past times and reminiscing helps someone to focus on the good things and what they loved so much about the person who is now gone. Along with this you can make a personalized gift to give to them. This is a keepsake they can hold onto for years and look back on to remember their loved one. Allowing a person to be emotional and express their feelings, which can vary, is also helpful and healthy. So often people get stuck in the grieving process and don’t let themselves experience all of the emotions they are going through. Be there for that person so they can lean on you, a friend or family member can tolerate all types of emotions in those they love.
Taking on the role of the “bodyguard” is another helpful tool to support someone grieving. This takes off a lot of extra stress someone may be experiencing-handling unwanted phone calls, responding to their emails, handling house chores, or looking after pets can be a huge relief. Removing these burdens allows the one you’re supporting to focus on healing themselves.
Everyone has a different grieving process, but everyone can use someone who’ll just listen. Sometimes we don’t need to say or do anything at all. When in the position of wanting to help a friend or loved one in grief, often times our first desire is to try to “fix” the situation, when in all actuality our good intentions can lead to nothing but more feelings of loss.
Most importantly whoever you are supporting should take care of themselves, physically and emotionally, to the best of their ability. Support groups and/or therapy are available and can help people through difficult times in their life. Immediate help should be sought after if alcohol or drugs become an issue.
Sources: Hiss, K. (2017, October) 9 True Stories that Will Show You What People Going Through A Loss really Need. Retrieved from https://www.rd.com/advice/relationships/losing-a-loved-one/