We all feel helpless when someone we care about is going through a tough time. It is difficult for a person to experience the loss of someone they love and as a friend or family member; it is hard to watch. There are some things you can do to help a person with the grieving process.
It is important to let the person know that you care about them and want to help out in any way possible. Do not let your discomfort with the situation allow you to shy away from the situation. The best thing you can do is to be supportive. Be prepared to listen (avoid giving advice) and allow the bereaved person to talk or just sit quietly. Let them know you hear and acknowledge their pain without minimalizing their loss.
Here are some suggestions to use as a guide when trying to comfort someone who is experiencing a loss:
- Acknowledge the situation. Example: “I heard that your_____ died.” Use the word “died” That will show that you are more open to talk about how the person really feels.
- Express your concern. Example: “I’m sorry to hear that this happened to you.”
- Be genuine in your communication and don’t hide your feelings. Example: “I’m not sure what to say, but I want you to know I care.”
- Offer your support. Example: “Tell me what I can do for you.”
- Ask how he or she feels, and don’t assume you know how the bereaved person feels on any given day.
Source: American Cancer Society
Just keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to grieve, nor is there a set time table. Everyone grieves in their own way, but do keep in mind that there are some warning signs that a person is not adjusting to their new situation. The loss of the ability to function in their day-to-day life, extreme feelings of anger or guilt, withdrawing, and abuse of alcohol or drugs may be a signal that they need professional help.
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