It can be hard to know exactly how to support or console a grieving relative or friend.
You may be scared of saying the wrong thing, so you choose to stay silent instead. But this can also cause them to feel alone or neglected.
The truth is there are many ways to console and support a grieving loved one. Keep in mind, however, that not everyone experiences and goes through grief the same way. But the one thing that any grieving person needs is a solid support system.
If you’re not sure how to support a grieving friend or relative, we’ve listed a few suggestions that can help.
Practical Support Goes A Long Way
There are two reasons why people need practical support after losing a loved one:
- Because the deceased loved one used to be in charge of certain things in their daily life
- Because grief (particularly in the early stages) makes it so hard to deal with everyday activities
Practical support can include offering to mow the lawn, looking after their kids or pets, cooking meals, scheduling cleaners, offering them to stay at your home when they don’t want to be alone, etc.
Ask yourself what your loved one needs help with. What conveniences can you offer that would help your loved one get through their day?
Provide Positive Distractions
Grieving individuals will often teeter between avoiding and accepting the loss of a loved one. By helping them feel normal and engaged in activities, you can give them a positive emotional boost that can help them cope.
But remember that you should not push your loved one to move on, forget or even minimise their loss. Understand that their grief could still overcome them at any moment – even during this break – and that is absolutely okay.
Some of the positive distractions you can provide include:
- Taking them on a movie date or a meal at their favourite restaurant
- Accompanying them to social events
- Sharing positive memories of their loved one
- Listening – don’t try to offer advice, just listen
When Does Counselling Help?
If your loved one’s pain
is affecting how they are functioning in their daily life, encouraging them to seek grief counselling can be a big help.
Grief counselling has many benefits:
- It can help your loved ones through this most difficult part of their life.
- It can help them learn more about themselves and their life, allowing them to grow stronger as they face their devastating loss.
- It can provide the tools to help them accept their situation and move on.
A huge part of being a supportive friend or family member is to understand that grief never really goes away.
Your loved one doesn’t just need your support in the days, weeks or even months after the loss; they need your lifelong support.
Contact us today to find out how you can get support so your loved one doesn’t have to go through the grieving process alone.
Delaney is a senior registered psychologist working with people of all backgrounds and with a special interest in LGBTI+ people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and Indigenous people.