Judith Zucker, LCSW
Supporting Those Who are Grieving
When our friends and family members are grieving, it often feels awkward or intimidating to know how to best demonstrate our care, love, and support.
Sometimes, this leads to avoidance of our grieving loved one, unintentionally saying hurtful or unhelpful statements, or taking unnecessary actions.
Since grieving is a unique process, the support people are looking for is specific to their circumstances and their personalities.
How, then, do we support our loved ones in their grief in the days, months, and years after their loss?
Here are three ways you can demonstrate support for your friend or family member dealing with a loss:
1.) Be present. If you plan to be supportive, it is important to remain connected with your loved one physically and emotionally throughout their process. While the measures you take to be present with your loved one may vary, the main goal is to show that you are there for them.
2.) Offer practical help. Many people who are grieving will need assistance in managing their day-to-day routines. It is difficult to focus on the details of the day-to-day after a loss. They may need hands-on help completing tasks and responsibilities their loved one handled. Your friend or family member may decline your offer, but it will allow them to consider what help they need moving forward and that they can turn to you.
3.) Don’t forget. Grief is – in many ways – a lasting process. In the days, months, and years ahead, ensure that you are remembering your friend or family member’s loss and recognizing holidays, dates, or events that are important to their grieving process. They will certainly appreciate that you remember them as they move through upcoming holidays and other important dates.