Watching someone you care about grieve isn’t easy. You may not know what to say, or you may be uncomfortable approaching someone going through a loss.
Now, more than ever, this person needs a strong support network. It is not about having the answers or taking away the grief. Your presence is the greatest gift you can offer the bereaved. Here are suggestions on understanding grief, and how to best accompany your loved one through the process.
Grief is a natural process following the loss of a loved one. You can experience grief immediately following a loss, or it may be months later that the grieving process begins. Emotions felt as part of the grieving process may include sorrow, disbelief, anxiety, anger, guilt, and eventually, release. Expression, acknowledgement and time will all lessen grief. You have an opportunity to ease the isolation of someone coping with devastating loss when you simply let them know you are there.
You may be cautious about approaching someone coping with a loss. You may be wary of saying or doing the wrong thing. This is completely normal. Too often the grieving don’t know how to reach out. Start by letting the bereaved know you are there to listen, talk, or just be silent. The person needs to feel their loss is acknowledged, and that their emotions are valid. You don’t need to avoid talking about the death, and you can encourage the person to share memories with you. Just listen with compassion and patience, and take the lead of your loved one on what they may need.
You can also offer to help in practical ways such as running errands or providing meals. Childcare, pet care, and transportation are also tangible ways to assist during this time. Remember to offer support following a memorial service, as this is the time that life gets back to normal for everyone but the bereaved. As time progresses, your loved one will be able to communicate his or her needs better. You will see that your continued support is valuable beyond the initial shock of loss.
Grief is an unpleasant experience, yet a network of friends and family members helps to ease the transition to a new normal. While you may feel awkward reaching out to someone who is grieving, rest assured that your efforts will be welcome. If you’ve recently experience the death of a loved one, contact Bi-State Cremation & Funeral Services. We deliver our services to with respect and dignity throughout the process. You can reach us at (314) 831-8868.