When a friend or relative loses a loved one, you might not know what to say or how to act. You want to help but are aware there’s almost nothing you can do to relieve their pain. Support a friend or family member in bereavement, can be challenging.These tips from the Melvin T. Strider Colonial Funeral Home in Ranson, WV, can make it easier to understand how you can help a loved one in need.
Open a Line of Communication
Reach out to the grieving family in a personal way. Instead of sending a generic sympathy card, call or send them a heartfelt letter acknowledging their loss. Let them know you care and that you look forward to hearing from them when they are ready.
Discussing the loss is a significant part of the grieving process. Invite your friend or relative to talk about the deceased and how they passed. If the death was unexpected, caused by suicide, overdose, or an act of violence, the bereaved may find many people are unwilling to acknowledge this information. You can help them by listening with genuine interest and compassion.
Mourners often hear platitudes like, “They’re in a better place,” but these sayings aren’t helpful and feel impersonal, especially in the initial stages of bereavement. Though you may mean well, these sentiments minimize the person’s grief. Instead, opt for honest, sincere phrases like, “I’m here for you,” and “I love you.”
Anticipate Their Needs
Grief is exhausting and stressful, but people are often hesitant to ask for help. Take the pressure off your loved one and make yourself available. Instead of saying, “Let me know if you need anything,” offer something specific like a homemade meal, an afternoon babysitting their children, or help planning the memorial service.
This moment is not about you. Your role is a supportive one, so you might feel underappreciated or even have your feelings hurt at times. People in bereavement experience a broad range of emotions, so they may become angry, irritable, or withdrawn. Remember that it isn’t personal and any good news you want to share can wait.
Everyone grieves differently. Your friend or family member may need weeks or months to come to terms with their loss. Support them throughout and know they will appreciate you doing so. Melvin T. Strider Colonial Funeral Home has been helping Ranson families navigate the bereavement and funeral planning process since 1889. To speak with a member of their compassionate staff about funeral or memorial service planning or cremation arrangements, call (304) 725-7068.