When you are in the role of “grief support“, it’s not uncommon to feel intimidated, overwhelmed, or anxious. In fact, that feeling is one of the reasons why some people accidentally say unhelpful, minimizing, or hurtful things to a friend or loved one (the bereaved). They don’t mean to say it that way or to say it specifically, but it just comes out. Sometimes, even the possibility of a faux pas makes us avoid the bereaved altogether.
When it comes to grieving and being there for someone else at the same time, it can be a difficult balancing act. The important thing to remember is that you are not alone in feeling intimidated or anxious when presented with the situation.
Here, we’re going to offer some pointers as to how to support a grieving friend, yet still manage your own feelings of sadness, when a friend or loved one passes away.
Allow the bereaved – and you, yourself – to talk about how uncomfortable or sad feelings are being experienced without judgment, discomfort, or fear. It hurts more to avoid talking about the deceased than it does to remember them out loud, honor them, and discuss the good times you may have all shared.
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk about It
Many times, when someone dies, people are afraid to talk about them. Rather, celebrate them, their life, and their memories. Some people believe that, as long as you remember someone in your heart and talk about your memories, they never truly “die”.
Know When It’s Time To Take a Breather
Most people go back and forth between two things when a friend or loved one dies: Avoiding the loss and confronting it. A healthy part of coping is to know when to seek respite from grief. Help the bereaved engage in an activity that takes them away from the loss at hand, if they are willing. Remember, however, do not minimize their loss.
Whether it’s emotionally or physically, just knowing that you are there for them (the bereaved) is sometimes enough. Make sure you express this to the bereaved. Say it out loud, send it in a letter, include it in a card. Just make sure they know you’re there for them.
Offer Support That Is Practical
There are two reasons for offering practical support to the bereaved:
- Because, just to manage day-to-day life can be extremely hard when you’ve lost a loved one.
- If the deceased was someone who filled certain roles and handled certain things, it can be extremely difficult for the bereaved to pick up where the deceased left off.
Ask yourself what skills you have to offer and how you might be able to help your friend or loved one through the loss and the grieving process.
What To Send/Give
In the case of a death, it can sometimes be difficult to know what to say. But it can also be difficult to know what to do, give, or send the bereaved. Flowers are common, and in many cases appreciated. However, if you’re looking for something a little more helpful, consider the following:
- Self-care items in a pretty box
- Things you may have in your possession that belonged to the deceased
- Gift cards for a self-care related business or something more practical
- Thoughtful letters or cards
- Home and/or food staples
- Remembrance items
- Home-cooked meals
Dealing with the Death of a Friend and Grieving
At American Heritage Cemetery Funeral Home Crematory, we don’t just manage cremations, putting together a funeral, burials, etc. We also offer resources to assist people in the grieving process. We are more than happy and willing to help you, your friends, your family, etc., in the process of mourning a death.
If you need some help planning a service for a friend, family member, or other loved one, please contact us today.