When someone loses a closed loved one, their grief often engulfs them, leaving them a different person. If your friend has lost a spouse or a child and you’re not sure how to be there for them in their grief, we have some suggestions with how to start.
To begin with, it is important to let everyone experience grief in their own way. You may expect their grief to look a certain way, but it may not. There has been much research done on the stages of grief and what it looks like. While these can be helpful to some, each person grieves differently and at their own pace. Your friend’s grief may not look like you expected it to, and that’s ok.
5 Tips To Help Someone Who is Mourning
Take the time to call them and/or stop by to see how they’re doing (if you are a close friend). This is not only important in the days after a death, but also on special days and anniversaries. Take them out to lunch for Valentines Day. Invite them to your Christmas celebrations. They are probably feeling extra lonely during these times.
Offering to help is great, but often is unhelpful. Actually doing tasks for them can be helpful. Get them groceries, have their dry cleaning done, mow their lawn. You could also suggest that they make a list for you of items they could use some help with. Let them focus on their mourning process while you take care of the everyday items.
Don’t Judge Them
If their grief doesn’t look the way you expect it to, don’t judge them. Let them go through their mourning process in their own way. There may be times that they need outside help along their journey, but be gentle in suggesting they see a counselor or visit a grief group. Their grief may look different than what you think it should, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
Ask Them Questions
Silence can make the bereaved feel lonely. You may not always know what to say to a grieving friend, so asking questions is a good route to take. Ask them questions about the person who has died. Let them reminisce about the past. Allow them to work through their memories and their grief. Your gentle questions may help them through their mourning.
Go to Grief Group With Them
A grief group is something that will most likely benefit someone who is grieving. Volunteer yourself to go along with them. They may turn you down, but for some it is exactly what they need. Bakken Young has multiple types of grief groups led by Chaplain Julia Rajtar. She is ready to help you and your friend along the journey.
These simple tips on helping someone who is mourning are just a start. Be gentle, kind and compassionate and your help will surely be a key difference in your friend’s life.