Without a doubt, grieving can be a very lonely experience and at times, solitude is necessary to help get you through. But over the course of time, family and friends will play an important role in the grieving process. If you know someone who needs your support, here are a few guidelines and tips. (Part two of this article will appear in our next blog.)
Acknowledge, don't avoid. - When someone is grieving, the natural tendency is to leave them alone, giving them space until they are ready. It may take time, but your acknowledgement of the loss will help those who are grieving accept the difficult reality. Your words and presence will smooth that transition.
Serve as a willing sponge. - You job as a support provider is to listen and listen again. Listen to the story of pain over and over until the storyteller no longer needs to hear it themselves.
Validate without correcting. - When someone grieves, they need to talk. They need someone to hear them and know that what they are saying is being heard. Try to validate what they are saying without contradicting or correcting them on small details or using cliches to make them feel better.
Accept where they are in the grieving process. - There is no timetable for grief. So many factors determine how and when someone emerges from the grief over the loss of someone they love. Accept their timing and wait for them to find the right schedule to begin to heal.
Offer specific ways to help. - So many times, although well meaning, people offer their help after the death of a loved one, but give no substance behind the offer. Saying, "call me if you need me", will most likely result in no connection. Offer specific ways you can help and follow through.
We'll be addressing several other ways to be the best support you can be for family or friends who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Our next blog will detail four final suggestions. Content for this article was taken from My Careletter and an article written by Reverend Mary Bredlau.