At one point or another, everyone will lose someone they love and go through a period of grief. Where one grieving person may want constant company, another my crave solitude. And where one grieving person may want to throw themselves into work, another may want to put their life on pause. There is no “correct” way to grieve and all of these reactions to grief are valid.
It’s important to remain flexible in the way that you console someone who is grieving. What helps most may change from day to day. While you can’t take away their pain, being present is important and meaningful. Offer hope, a positive outlook toward the future, and reassurance that the grieving process is natural and gradual.
Knowing what to say to someone who is grieving and who has experienced loss can be challenging. These tips provide ideas of how to show support:
Don’t ask, “How are you?” – Most likely, the answer to this question is going to be “not good” — and because it’s a similar greeting that is offered to most everyone, it fails to acknowledge the loss faced by a bereaved individual. Instead, try asking, “How are you feeling today?”
Name names – It’s very important and meaningful to mention the deceased by name. Doing so will not make a grieving person any sadder. Saying how much you’ll miss the person and how much he or she meant to you is much more meaningful than a generic, “I’m so sorry for your loss.”
Help out – It’s common for people to ask if they can “do anything” for someone who is grieving, but that puts a great deal of pressure on the individual to have to ask for help. Instead, try asking if it’s OK for you to do something specific. For example, ask, “Can I bring you dinner tonight,” or “Can I do this load of laundry for you?”
Listen, but don’t advise – Sometimes, a person who is grieving just needs to talk through their feelings. Expressing themselves doesn’t always mean that they are looking for friendly advice. Lending a sympathetic ear can help them feel like someone understands them and is there for them, instead of trying to coax them out of their grief.
Reach out – Although it can be difficult to find the right thing to say to someone who is grieving, it is important to acknowledge the loss. Reach out to the grieving person and express your condolences. Checking in frequently can help the bereaved person feel less alone and may bring comfort in knowing that people are thinking about them during their trying times.
Offer hope – Grief can often be blinding, and people can forget that things will get better. Remind the person who is grieving that they are strong enough to make it through what they are feeling and that it will get better eventually.
For additional information about navigating a life-limiting illness or offering support to loved ones, reach out to the experienced care experts at Superior Home Health and Hospice today. Our knowledgeable team of clinicians and staff provides families in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties with compassionate hospice care services designed to meet needs holistically: physically, mentally and spiritually. To learn more about our services, reach out to us today at 805-742-4514.