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How do I help someone when they are experiencing showers of grief?

Posted on April 08, 2015

Nearly everyone has encountered someone in the midst of grief. It’s never easy to understand someone’s grief, and can often be awkward or confusing for those trying to comfort the bereaved—you may not know what to say or do, which can make anyone feel helpless.

Those of us who are caring for a person in a state of grieving are left to wonder: how can I help? It’s a question that is difficult to answer and can be different for every person, so firstly, ask how you can help. They may ask you to pick up some dry cleaning or mow their law or maybe do the dishes—and if that’s what they need in that moment, make sure you follow through with your offer. Sometimes helping with a task can be a greater help than a tray of food.

What they need may not be a chore, but someone to listen with an open heart and without judgement. There is no need to say anything—just be there, listen, and let them share their feelings with you. While you may not feel like you are helping in any way, but just being in the presence of a friend can be immensely helpful.

It isn’t uncommon for the bereaved to feel abandoned—and many times it is due to loved ones having a lack of understanding of what to do! Let them know you are available when they need you. Don’t abandon them in their time of need. The healing process is never the same for every person. Stay in touch, and don’t forget about them.

To help keep them in your life, you may find it helpful to engage them in a social activity when they are ready. Whether the activity is a stroll through the park, going out to lunch, or a round of bowling, sometimes returning to social life can be therapeutic and allow them to open up about anything they are feeling.

And no matter the situation, be aware of warning signs. Are they losing weight too quickly? Are they not taking care of themselves? Have they mentioned suicide? Always take talk of suicide seriously, even if they mention it in passing or in jest. If you are concerned, you can contact a help professional for guidance.

Our Continuous Care program is available to those struggling with grief. We host monthly drop-in groups and quarterly information programs which are free and open to the public. For more information on how you can join in on the next session, give us a call.

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