Unless you’ve personally suffered a loss, you can’t relate to someone that has. Even then, we know that everyone has their own way of grieving and a loss can never be compared. Watching someone you love grieve can be heartbreaking and difficult. The most difficult part being — you don’t know what to do or when is the right time to reach out. If you find yourself torn on how and when to approach a grieving loved one, here are a few tips to keep in mind before you do.
Helping Your Loved One Grieve
Showing someone how much you love and care about them doesn’t have to be a grand gesture every time. Starting with something small like random texts expressing how much you love them or are thinking of them will go a long way. Grieving can make some feel isolated, especially when they’re aware that everyone else is going on with their lives while their world has stopped. Texts can not only make them feel important to someone else, it’s also a safe way to check in to see if they are ready to talk. Be mindful that some people will need time to come around and talking may be the most difficult. They may also be flooded with texts from people thinking the same as you, so don’t take it personally if they don’t get back to you right away.
Once they are ready to talk, make sure to actively listen. Listen to not only what they are saying, but what their body language is saying. Gauge your answer based on their words and actions. Most of the time they’ll want someone they can be vulnerable with and have a heartfelt conversation. Don’t diminish any comments they make as it can make them feel offended or more hurt. If you don’t know what to say, the best thing to do is to hold their hand, give them a hug, and if it’s genuine, cry with them.
At times people may need help but are too scared to ask, either because they feel that by asking they may be an inconvenience or are too prideful to ask. If you know your loved one could use some help around the house, set a time to come over and help. If you think cooking dinner for them could help, make your specialty dish and bring it over. If you know they have some errands you can take care of, offer it. It’s easy to say “Let me know if you need anything” when trying to be there for someone just to never hear back. If you say you’ll do something, follow through.
Send a gift
If you don’t know how to express yourself, a gift can always help. If it’s easier to write it down, send a handwritten card attached to a gift. Gifts from Laurelbox are a great way to put a thoughtful gift box together after a loss while paying respect to the ones who are no longer with us. Gifts can also come in the form of flowers, cookies, a book, etc.
The best thing you can do for your loved one is to be sensitive. As much as you want them to feel better, it will happen on their time. More than anything, they just need you to be around.