The experience of losing someone close is disturbing and devastating. Anyone who goes through the experience is often inconsolable, and it would be unreasonable for us to expect them to be fine immediately.
You can be there for your friends when they are grieving, but often it can be hard to know just what it means to be there for them.
If you are unsure how you can support them, here are some ways that you can do so.
Let Them Talk
People who are grieving often retell the stories of their loved ones over and over again. The stories can be many and varied. You will need to be patient to help them through these times.
Understand that retelling the stories is a way for your friend to process and accept their loved one’s passing, and you being there to listen with compassion and patience could be just what they need.
Accept How They Feel
Everyone reacts to death differently. Some may cry, some may get angry, and others may breakdown when they talk to you.
Your friend could react unexpectedly, and you must not try to reason with them about how they should or should not feel at this point.
Let them know it is fine to feel the way they do and accept it without criticism or judgement.
Offer Helpful Assistance
Your friend is not in their best state of mind, and they may not have the mental or physical capacity to perform their chores as they did before.
Offer them specific help, such as providing them with what they need in their daily lives – grocery shopping, bill payment, house chores, picking their kids up from school, and so on.
You can choose a task that you can help with consistently so that your friend knows you will always be there to help with that chore.
Refer Them to an Psychologist
It is likely that your friend already knows that they will need to seek help at some point.
Do not rush them. Give them time to process their emotions first, and let your friend know that there are professionals who specialise in depression treatment & they are available for them when they are ready.
You can do more than listen to your friend. Most of us avoid the entire topic altogether or refrain from mentioning the loved one’s name in fear of upsetting their grieving friends.
However, it can be comforting for your friend when you share your stories with them as well. When you talk about the loved ones out loud, you are grieving and mourning with your friend.
Reminisce about your experiences together, and do not be afraid to speak their name or what you miss the most about them.
Show Up in Their Lives
When your friend starts grieving, many other people will be there for them. Their family members, close friends, relatives and even colleagues will provide their assistance and comfort, but they often stop showing up after some time.
Show up in your friend’s life even after they have got through their most difficult times. Grief is a cycle to go through, and it takes a long time to be completely healed. Your presence will help them along the way.
Understand That This is Not About You
It is not easy to be supportive of someone through their pain. You will need to remember that this is all about them and nothing about you.
Throughout their grieving process, there will be times when you feel hurt by their reactions to the support that you are trying to give them.
It will not be easy to be there for them at such a difficult time but stay strong. Your friend needs your support.
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