How To Help A Friend Who Is Grieving
The Best Guide On How To Help A Friend Who Is Grieving From Loss
When we are looking at how to help a friend that is grieving, we have to understand that they are often feeling such a multitude of emotions. It is sometimes difficult to know exactly how to help them.
It is essential to understand that grief affects each person in different ways. While some people might outwardly show their emotions and distress without a barrier, some others might feel everything inwardly and display nothing but an exterior of confidence and control.
While we believe we know our friends, we often see that grief changes a person almost from the instant they lose someone dear, so acknowledging this should also be a huge consideration.
We can do many things to help a friend who is grieving.
Some of the suggestions we are about to share might be more applicable at different stages of grief over others. It’s essential to also be mindful of the stage of grief they may be in and the appropriateness of the assistance.
So what are the best things we can do to help and offer support to a grieving friend?
Let’s have a look.
Take Time To Listen
Having a connection with a person who is going through the grieving process is something that is so powerful, and having the ability to listen will be appreciated by your friend.
There is a time and a place to be generally conversational; however, during the grieving process, a listening ear is something that will enable your friend to speak freely with no judgment. Often, no dialogue from your side will be necessary.
The strongest element of a conversation is listening, which is particularly important when communicating with your friend who is experiencing very mixed emotions and feelings of loss.
Learning how to help a friend that is grieving Through the action of listening may not always be straightforward. The flow of the words from the person grieving may not always make sense, and they may jump from one memory to another when talking; however, it doesn’t really have to make sense to you.
The words they are speaking will inevitably help them through their grief, and just knowing that someone is listening to all of the happy and sad memories and feelings equally can be enough.
While this may seem like something most people may feel uncomfortable in trying, it may need to be encouraged at certain stages of the grieving process to avoid the person from getting into a negative mindset that can’t then be changed.
When we are looking to encourage normality, we mean encouraging your friend or loved one to engage in the elements of daily life they did before the loss, no nothing too extravagant and nothing new.
If your friend or loved one visited a cafe for tea and cake on a Tuesday morning, for instance. If you have noticed that they haven’t been for a while, you may like to encourage them to re-start this to provoke a bit of normality.
Encouraging normality when looking at how to help a grieving friend who lost a spouse is particularly powerful, as they will have lost the other half of their lives, which may leave them feeling like their purpose in life has also gone.
Of course, it hasn’t, but they may see it like this, so it is always important to remind them that their life continues.
Offering reassurance to a Good friend who has lost someone they love can be one of the best things you can do to provide support.
It is essential to reassure your friend that whatever they are feeling and experiencing is completely ok and normal to feel at every stage of the grieving process.
Sometimes, people who are experiencing loss can “put up a front” to stop others from seeing the pain they are feeling, so it’s important to reassure them that whatever they are thinking and feeling (with the exception of having thoughts of self-harm) is all part of the grieving process.
Facilitating your grieving friend to allow them to freely feel and show emotion whenever they need to will encourage them to go through the grieving process without fear of judgment or apprehension of being perceived as weak, so it’s crucial.
Suggestions Of Remembrance
When you are looking at how to help a friend that is grieving, one thing that is often forgotten is offering suggestions of remembrance to create a focus on remembering the person they have lost more permanently.
This may be something that is not an immediate thought for them as they go through the stages of grief. Still, once they are ready to remember their loved one in a more permanent fashion, they will be thankful that you have been thinking about it on their behalf.
Some permanent remembrance ideas may include:
- Memorial Garden – A memorial garden can be created as a place to reflect on the person they have lost and as a commemorative area for friends and family to visit.
- Ashes into rings– This is an extremely popular as a way of keeping a loved one beside them all the time, by turning some of their ashes into jewellery such as rings, which can bring immense comfort.
- Memorial Bench – A memorial bench or item of personalised reflection. This can provide a place of reflection and solace for your friend to go and remember the person they have lost.
Nutrition & Sustenance
Sometimes, you may feel at a loss with how to help a friend that is grieving. However, here is this lovely tradition that food is made and brought to them when someone in the community is in need.
Why is this appropriate here?
During loss, it’s often so easy to forget ourselves, and life takes on a whole different dimension to the norm.
There are new things to do and focus on, and time seems to run away with us, so it’s essential to provide some practical support by way of a gentle reminder (and provisions) that keeping up optimum nutrition and sustenance is crucial during grief.
This element of providing food as a way to offer support to a friend who is grieving can be most welcomed as they may not have thought about themselves or have been carried away in grief.
Again, the offerings do not need to be extravagant.
Some straightforward things to do are:
- Make sure your friend has things in their fridge to make healthy snack-style meals, such as simple sandwiches or a salad.
- Make sure they have fresh fruit available for healthy snacks.
- Provide small re-heatable meals, such as lasagne or cottage pie, that can be used when needed.
- Ensure they have a small shop delivered regularly, or even accompany them shopping to assist in that way.
With so many emotions that are felt after the loss of a loved one, it is really easy to forget about yourself, so having a friend’s support in a practical way will make sure that they at least have things available to provide for themselves and receive some much-needed sustenance.
It is such a different experience from everyday life when someone loses someone they love.
Knowing how to help a friend that is grieving be challenging to begin with, but looking for cues in your friend’s language and behaviour may give you some indication of what they need.
Everyone feels grief differently, so it’s important not to dismiss anything they may say or how they are feeling, but to provide them with a non-judgemental listening ear or practical support at a time when they need it most will be most welcomed.
People who have lost someone dear will undoubtedly feel very vulnerable and lost indeed.
Hence, it is essential to ensure they do not feel isolated while providing them with the space they need too; it can be a delicate balance.
If you are unsure about how to provide support, just make sure that they are catered for in the areas they may lapse due to all of the changes, such as company, nutrition and a reminder that whatever they are feeling is totally ok and that you are there to support them in any way you can.
Hold their hand, let them cry, or help them create a lasting reminder of the loved one they have lost.
A little human interaction and comfort are sometimes enough to let them know you are there and you care.