In Their Time of Need
Death is a fraught topic. We all have to deal with it but most of us aren’t so adept at handling grief, both our own and someone else’s. It’s hard to know what to say and how to comfort someone who is grieving a major loss—you don’t want to be unhelpful or overstep the person’s boundaries. Sometimes the words simply don’t come when you’re trying to provide consolation.
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The next time you encounter someone close to you who is grieving, don’t overthink your response. If you follow the six pieces of advice below, you’ll know how to comfort someone who is grieving.
1. Be Emotionally Present
Oftentimes, just being open to the person’s emotions is enough to provide them with that proverbial shoulder to lean on. Accepting the grieving person’s feelings, from sadness to anger to relief, without judgment, is the most important thing you can do. Listening to the person talk, or just sitting and being present with them in silence is so powerful. Grief can be uncomfortable and messy, but your presence is a gift that many are not able to muster and part of how to comfort someone who is grieving.
2. Make It About Them, Not You
Remember that, no matter what losses you’ve suffered, this person’s grief is all their own. Therefore, resist the urge to utter phrases like “I know how you feel” or “He/She is in a better place now.” This is not the time to compare their grief with yours or to foist your personal beliefs (especially religious ones) onto the person suffering from a loss. Even if you are very close, it’s important to keep yourself out of the grieving process. Yes, you can be sad about the loss too, but your focus should be on the person mourning and their experience with grief.
3. Never Underestimate the Power of a Good Meal
Want to know how to comfort someone who is grieving? Bring them food. Even if you’re just dropping by in the morning to check in, bring coffee and a bagel. Grieving people need to eat and, honestly, the last thing many people feel like doing when they are mourning is cooking. Bring a meal or groceries and you’ll really be doing the person a service.
4. Don’t Ask How You Can Help—Just Help
Furthermore, don’t ask the grieving person to let you know if they need anything. Chances are they don’t know what they need (except for their loved one to come back), nor are they likely to spend their days brainstorming all of the ways you can help. If you want to know how to comfort someone who is grieving, just be helpful. Does it look like their dog could use a walk? Grab the leash. Could their house use a good cleaning? Call a service to come make it sparkle again. Be perceptive about what might be useful and then just do it.
5. Be the Gatekeeper When Needed
If the grieving person is barraged by visitors or stuck in a conversation with someone who is being unhelpful, or even hurtful, intervene kindly when you can. Take the grieving person aside and ask if they could use a break. If so, take them away from their visitors or gently ask the visitors to leave. Use your intuition to read the room and discern when you might need to step in to protect the grieving person. Also, offer to accompany the person to make any funeral arrangements to ensure that they don’t have to do it alone.
6. Keep Showing Up
Finally, don’t disappear after the memorial service. Check in with the grieving person often. Keep bringing them coffees or snacks. Call them on important anniversaries and let them know that you’re thinking about them, too. Grief doesn’t end once someone is buried; there’s no time limit to mourning. Keep showing up so they know they can count on you when the next wave of sadness hits.
Death is not the end of your strong bonds with your loved ones. A psychic medium can connect you to those who have crossed over. During a psychic medium reading, you can share messages, get closure, and so much more.
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