VOS: How to help someone who’s grieving

How to Help Someone Who’s Grieving

Emotional wellbeing

April 2021

How to Help Someone Who’s Grieving

Losing a loved one is an unimaginably hard experience. Watching someone going through this terrible loss, especially a close friend, can lead us to questions like:

‘What should I do?’

‘How can I help them?’
‘Should I send a card and flowers?’
‘Should I talk to him and ask about his/her feelings?’
In this article, I would like to sum up a few tips and give you some advice on how to help someone who’s grieving.

Be there…

This advice sounds quite simple, and you may say it is an obvious thing to do, but believe me - it’s not that easy. Usually when you spend some time with your friends you laugh, talk to each other, and relax. But when you’re with a grieving friend, you might need to listen to some really hard to hear things, and discuss their feelings. You might feel helpless and sad as well, as your friend or someone you love’s world has completely changed.

Although it’s not easy, it’s important to show your loved one that you’re there for them. Listen to what they have to say, don’t judge them or argue with them about their feelings, and prepare to even give them time alone - if that is the case, just accept that and let them know they can talk to you whenever they want.

What (not) to say

It’s hard to find the words in this kind of situation. You can say, ‘I’m here for you if you need me.’ or, ‘I can’t even imagine what you’re going through.’ However, don’t try to tell your mourning friend how they should grieve. Grieving is a process during which people have various and unexplainable feelings. Let them grieve in their own way - as healgrief.org write, you should not say you understand or that you know how your friend feels, because people who haven’t experienced something like this just can’t understand or know.

Practical things can help

According to Angela Morrow’s article, you can help your grieving loved one with practical things. You can, for example, do the grocery shopping for them, cook a lunch, babysit children, or bring dry cleaning. These little things can really mean a lot and will help in a very practical way.

Take care of yourself

Talking to someone who’s grieving is hard. It can make you feel overwhelmed and confront you with thoughts and feelings you have never had before. Keep in mind that you also need to take care of yourself - it’s important to address your own needs.

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