The grieving process is not the same for everyone; it is multifaceted and complex. Support matters during this time, but how do you go about supporting a loved one through the pain and awkwardness? Here is what you need to know.
When you don’t know what to say
Not knowing what to say to someone who has just lost a loved one is a common occurrence. It is also a difficult and awkward process. It's hard not to say something, but we don't want to come across as insincere or say something that may make things worse.
However, this is the most crucial time to be there for them. Even if you have to sit with them in awkward silence. Being sincere and showing that you care can be shown in simple acts such as acknowledging their pain and telling them that you are there for them.
Understand that it takes time
We never stop grieving, but we learn to handle the process better as time goes on. Understand that while one person may go through the grieving process within a matter of months, it may take another person years.
The knee-jerk reaction that most people have is to find ways to make a person feel better or avoid the topic altogether, but the aim is to help them deal better with their loss. Acknowledge their loss and focus on the good memories.
Support them by encouraging them to seek professional help if they are not coping. Ask them if they need help with a task or for you to remind them to go to therapy appointments.
Stick to their normal routine
Losing a loved one is a traumatic experience that alters someone's world. Bringing some normality to a person who has just lost a loved one can be appreciated and also offer a momentary distraction.
However, it is crucial to read a person's mood along with their willingness to do certain tasks. As much as you want to support and help them, it is important not to be overbearing by treating them like a basket case or ignoring them. Listening to what they have to say instead of offering them advice can go a long way.
Knowing what to ask
Instead of asking them “How are you?” move towards “How are you feeling today?” to get a sense of their mood. Ask if they want to do something that will cheer them up or if they need their space. Checking up on someone after the funeral is the most crucial time. Therefore, focus on their responses instead of flooding them with tasks and activities they may not be in the mood for.