Grieving is such a difficult and personal experience filled with a whirlwind of emotions. This can make it challenging to support someone who is going through this. We’ve collated some advice to help…
1. Provide practical support
When somebody is mourning, it’s easy to neglect day-to-day tasks. If you’re able to make them a meal, take their dog for a walk, drop off some shopping - or similar (within the current covid-19 guidelines) - then do it! You’ll be taking another task off their mind.
2. Don’t only focus on the good
Whilst positivity is important, there’s a time and place for it. If somebody is opening up to you about their pain and you keep reciting positive quotes, they will simply feel unheard. Acknowledge their pain, difficulty and loss.
3. Talk to them
Through fear of not knowing what to say, people in mourning often get neglected. Saying the wrong thing is far better than saying nothing at all. Ask them how they’re doing today and if it feels appropriate, speak to them about the topics you’d usually talk to them about. Their world has already taken a strike of abnormality, so making changes to your relationship won’t help matters either.
4. And don’t wait
The truth is, speaking to someone who has just experienced loss will always feel a bit awkward. Instead of worrying about when to message, actively show you care by messaging sooner rather than later. Even if you don’t get a response, a message sending your condolences will always be appreciated.
5. Ask how you can support them
It’s very common for people to support others in the way they themselves would like to be supported. A long walk talking about your feelings may be good for you, but to someone else, it could be a tiresome task. Be upfront and ask them what can I do to help? What isn’t helpful for you right now?
6. Match their tone
Grief is not a straightforward experience. It can have you uncontrollably crying, not crying at all, making inappropriate jokes, feeling absolutely fine, to feeling like your whole world is ending all - within the space of a day.
It’s important to let them feel their way through their emotions, if they’re in the mood for a joke, there’s nothing wrong with that. And if they want to sit there and have a cry - so be it. What matters is that you’re there to listen.
7. Set boundaries
Supporting someone through their grief is an amazing thing to do. But it can be draining for you too. Be sure to set yourself some loose boundaries with how much you will do and when you will do it. Besides, if your mental health begins to suffer you won’t be fit to support anybody else.
And as always, the Essex Wellbeing Service is always here to help.