Losing a loved one can damage someone. It takes a lot to pick yourself up after something so devastating. Anyone who witnessed passing away from someone dear to them would agree. The of stages of grief play out differently for different people. Everyone faces their pain in their way. Even so, a reliable support system would be beneficial to them. If you have a friend who is mourning the death of a loved one, here’s what you can do to help.
A problem shared is a problem halved, as they say. A study has been conducted which shows that sharing one’s issues with others can help with reducing stress levels. As Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD explains human nature; “You want to find a safe place to face these. Maybe a trustworthy friend who is a good listener, a counselor, a support group, reading books on the subject, praying, meditation or any other tool that may help you deal with the emotions.”
If your friend wants to tell you about how they’re feeling, listen. If they’re going to tell you about the times that they spent with the recently deceased loved one, listen. Alternatively, if they want to talk to you about anything under the sun, listen to them. This may be their way of dealing with the current situation.
2. Check up on them.
Especially at thischallenging time, it’s important to check on people who are mourning. They won’t be in theright place and might even hurt themselves. This hurt may come in physical or mental form. The latter may manifest in the way of blaming oneself.
A simple “How are you feeling?” or “Do you need anything?” can go a long way. It’s an assurance to the person who is grieving that they aren’t alone in this. It’s a reminder that they have someone who’s looking out for them, who cares for them.
3. Watch your words.
Be cautious when offering advice or words of encouragement to the one who is mourning. As mentioned above, people deal with grief in their way. Given this, the things that your grieving friend needs to hear may be different from what others who are grieving need to listen. It’s a case-to-case basis. Thus, it’s important to know your friend and know what they need to hear while they are mourning.
“When it’s too hard to cope with all of this alone, you might find it helpful to have someone who understands trauma and loss in your corner.” –Lisa S. Larsen, PsyD
Know for sure whether you should be offering positive encouragement or solemnly sympathizing with the one grieving.
Another thing to note is that it might not be a good idea to insert religion into your conversation. This is especially the case when you aren’t sure of your friend’s spiritual beliefs. Saying that the recently deceased is in a better place won’t work with someone who believes in reincarnation.
4. Be there for them.
Above all, be there for your friend. They’ve lost someone significant to them,and they need to let it out. You can help them do that.
If they need to cry, lend your shoulder for them to cry on. If they want to rant about life and why it sucks, lend your ear. Or, if they only need someone else’s presence, sit with them, even in complete silence. Be there to support them. Let them feel that they are not alone in this. Let them know that you care.
Losing a loved one is never easy. “As we process the reality of our loss, we are also trying to survive emotional pain.” Jodi Clarke, MA, LPC/MHSP said. But it’s always nice to know that you don’t have to bear the pain alone–that you have people who are ready to help you get through this difficult stage in your life.