Grief is something that we all have to deal with at some point in our lives. It can be devastating and debilitating at times. One thing is certain: with help, the grieving process becomes much more healthy and effective.
Do you know someone who is going through a difficult time? Grief is often associated with the death of a loved one, but it may also be associated with the loss of something. You can grieve the loss of a job, a lifestyle, or even an old home. Eventually, y ou will come across someone who is bereaved, so knowing how to assist them is invaluable.
It's possible that a grieving person won't tell you how much help they need. This may be due to denial or pride. You'll need to console them in unobtrusive ways that make them feel supported and accepted. Here are for 5 tips on how you can help those who are mourning.
When communicating with someone who is grieving, be sincere. Minimizing, providing unsolicited suggestions, or offering a slew of ideas to alleviate their pain should all be avoided. The bereaved don't need a fixer; they just need someone to listen to them. "I'm here and I care," is one of the best things to say.
Simply Show Up
Being present in the midst of someone's grief is the best thing you can do. Show up, don't pry for details or ask a lot of intrusive questions, and be a listening ear for your grieving friend. Figure out how to engage your hurting friend or loved one in a positive way. They may not want to participate in activities that you normally do together, or it could be exactly what they need. Give options and then follow through. At the end of the day, simply maintain a consistent and supportive presence in their lives.
Provide Practical Assistance
A bereaved person often need practical assistance at times. Grief can cause a person to let go of self-care, disregard maintaining their home, and struggle to care for the other members in their family. Be that person if you notice your friend or loved one might need help running errands, help them with cleaning or yard maintenance, or to look after their children. Kindly give your assistance and don't be offended if they don't accept it. They will be grateful that you asked and will remember you if their circumstances change.
Encourage Them To Discuss The Deceased
You may believe that talking about the death of a friend, co-worker, or loved one would make someone's pain worse, but that's not the case. Never mentioning them and behaving as though they didn't exist is denial, and that will exacerbate someone's suffering, and grief.
So, if someone wants to talk about a loved one that has passed away, allow them to. They'll most likely want to reminisce about fond memories that they had with their loved one. They may also need to work through any guilt they may have over things they did or didn't do when that person was alive.
Help Them Deal With Their Guilt
According to psychotherapist Mark Tyrell you should encourage them to let go of any shame or guilt that they may have, especially if that guilt comes from them temporarily forgetting about their deceased loved one. Encourage them to live a life that honors the deceased, and that embraces their loved one's legacy.
This advice may sound counterintuitive to the previous point, but grieving people sometimes hold so much shame that it's best to take smaller steps. If they need to focus on getting through each day before they are able to process the past, then allow them to do that. Don't rush the grief process, especially when confronting feelings of guilt and shame. Your grieving friend or loved one might need to talk with you about their guilt and feelings of remorse in order to process the loss.
How to Tell the Difference Between Grief and Trauma
Grief is a natural reaction to a traumatic event. People respond differently to a traumatic experience, than they do to grief. Therapist David Kessler says that all trauma involves grief but not all grief involves trauma. The two, however, can sometimes be related. If your friend or loved one is having flashbacks to an event associated with the death, and they feel intense fear rather than sadness, they may be experiencing trauma. In order to cope with their grief, they would need to work through this trauma.
Professionals are utilized to help with both grief and trauma. A therapist or psychologist will be able to guide an individual through the steps necessary to reclaim your mental wellbeing. Encourage your friend or loved one to seek professional support and offer to help them find resources that will help with their healing .
There are many ways to help others who are experiencing loss, but the most important way to help is to be a presence to them. Knowing that you are there for them and that you will provide an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on, especially during the really hard moments is one of the best gifts you can give to someone who is grieving.
More Resources On Grief:
Grief.com - offers a vast amount of articles, videos, and online support groups for those who are grieving or those who are supporting a bereaved friend or loved one.
Empathy- Is an app that guides and supports you along your journey of loss, giving you the tools to navigate and prioritize every task.
Modern Loss - Modern Loss is a place to share the unspeakably taboo, unbelievably hilarious, and unexpectedly beautiful terrain of navigating your life after a death. Beginners welcome.