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How to Support Someone Who is Grieving

Grief is indeed one of the most difficult moments we go through in life. It is undeniably marked by intense emotions. At times, it can become intertwined with other painful issues concerning the person who died or was otherwise lost. There can also be complications with other bereaved loved ones. When issues go beyond the actual loss, it can be even harder for the bereaved.

Having someone we care about go through the pain of losing someone they love can also be painful for us. But most of the time, we do not completely understand how much they’re suffering until they open up to us. We may never know the best ways to offer our most thoughtful support. 

Sometimes we’re clueless as to the right words to say. We may sometimes try to avoid the sensitive matter altogether by not saying anything at all. However, it’s during these moments when offering hope and support for grieving individuals becomes even more necessary. It could be critical for those who are hit the hardest by their grief to have someone to lean on for emotional support.

If you do not know how to best offer your support for someone who is grieving, these are some of the important things to keep in mind.

Show Empathy

No matter how strong the grieving person is, they can still feel overwhelmed with emotions going through the whole experience. Maybe it's easier to understand how they feel if you’ve been through grief yourself, but if not, you may never realize how their loss may affect them or their lives. 

The least you can do is try to understand that what they may be going through presently is far beyond the ordinary. Remember that loss and the associated grief is no light matter. The grieving person may be emotionally overwhelmed, pained, or simply confused. There is also no definite time frame for their healing.

Be Tactful with Your Words

It’s during such deeply sensitive moments that well-meaning people may become confused as to what to say exactly to offer thoughtful support for the grieving person. One may end up saying nothing at all and avoiding even mentioning what has happened. 

It’s necessary to remain sensitive and tactful with the words you say, but actions also matter. Letting them know you are available, being present, acknowledging their loss, and listening intently to what they want to share with you can mean a great deal, and be what the person is unknowingly craving.

Offer Hope to the Grieving Individual

Knowing that someone we care about is going through possibly the most difficult and darkest period in their life should encourage us to give them hope as well as strength. It’s the least of reassurances we can give but also the most important. They will feel desolate and in despair right now, so remind them that it's not the end, there is hope, and that they are strong enough to get through this.

Allow Them to Express their Grief

Show your support for the grieving person by simply sitting with them and listening to whatever they want to tell you. A crying shoulder and a listening ear might be the most important things for them right now. Let them know that you care enough to want to know how they feel, and encourage them to express their emotions if they are ready.

Don’t Wait for Them to Ask You for Support

You want to reassure the grieving person that you’re available when they need you. But do not always just wait for them to ask, for they may never do that. It’s during grieving moments when our ability to empathize gets tested. Be sensitive to the needs of the grieving person and try to offer your care for them at every practical chance you get. Initiate providing the assistance you can offer instead of waiting for them to ask for it.

Kind and caring words and words to give them strength are priceless. Let them know you are thinking of them at the moment and show simple gestures that remind them of hope. 

They will be emotionally overwhelmed and blinded by the pain of their loss right now. This is temporary and things will eventually get better, but in their current state, they not only cannot see that, they probably don’t want to know. Once they begin healing, they will see things more clearly and appreciate your kind and thoughtful actions.