It can be difficult to know what type of support to offer someone who is grieving, as grief can arouse a wide array of emotions within a person. Your loved one, colleague, or friend tackling grief may be feeling emotions such as guilt, anger, sadness, despair, depression, or anxiety. Therefore, it is important to do your best to support them during this time. Here are a few things you may wish to consider when helping a loved one with their grief.
Supporting Others Through Grief
Luckily we live in an age where we can use the internet to learn a lot about grief in a short period of time. Expanding your knowledge is often the best way to support someone who has just experienced a loss. By learning more about the stages of grief and what grief feels like, you can likely be a more empathetic listener and can better help them navigate through their feelings.
As Dr Gary Chapman’s theory goes, people give and receive love in five ways:
● Words of affirmation
● Acts of service
● Physical touch
● Receiving gifts
● Quality time
In order to show your love for the person who is grieving, you may need to use multiple methods of demonstrating your love for them to ensure they feel supported, heard and loved.
For example, you could use affirming body language, including hugs and hand touches, to show physical affection and encouragement. You could also say some kind words to show them you are here for them throughout their process. They may find it helpful if you could find them some helpful bereavement support services. You may even like to offer them a piece of memorial jewellery to express your love.
Grief can often make people feel lonely. Therefore, it is important to show someone who is grieving that you are here for them and that you are willing to give them what they need.
Many people often reach out in the early days following a loss. However, it is essential that you continually show up and offer them support through the grieving process. Of course, we
don’t recommend pestering them to come out to dinner or forcing them to talk about their grief when they don’t wish to. But it is important to offer continual support so they feel they can reach out when they would like company.
Everyone needs different support following a loss. Therefore, it can be hard to know how to help. Of course, there are also a few things you should avoid doing, including making their grief about you, minimising their grief or referencing your past experience with loss. But generally, most people who are grieving just want their loved ones to be there to support them and actively listen to them when they make requests. So the best thing you can do is constantly show up for them when they need you.