(As a short foreword to this blog post, I’m sure a lot of you have seen messages posted by me, explaining that my mom is struggling a lot right now with having a close friend of hers pass away. That’s where I got the inspiration for this blog.)
Grief is something that we all are going to experience at some point in our lives. Generally, we think of it occurring when someone you know or love passes away, but people often experience it at other periods, such as when a pet dies, a close friend moves away, or a parent’s divorce.
This article is meant to help you support someone else in sadness and loss; however, it might be helpful for yourself as well.
The hardest thing by far to accept is that you can’t change it.
The loss cannot be repaired, hidden, or fixed. The pain cannot be simply made to go away. Do not say things like, “They’re in a better place now,” or “They had finished the work they needed to do here”. You don’t know what the future holds for you or anyone else, and other people may have different beliefs on what comes after life. “Stick with the simple truth: this hurts. I love you. I’ll be here.” (Quoted from Huffington Post)
A lot of the time, people don’t know what to say. They don’t know what to do, or how to help the grieving person. The magnitude of the pain that is being felt is beyond anything they had ever experienced. It can be very overwhelming. But that often means they do nothing at all. That doesn’t mean that they are bad or wrong; they just simply don’t know what to do or how to help. Just by being there for your friend, you can help a lot. Think about the little things, simple things that can mean so much. Doing a load of laundry. Bringing a mug of tea. Shoveling snow off the sidewalk. Doing a quiet activity together.
“Do not say “Call me if you need anything,” because your loved one will not call. Not because they do not need, but because identifying a need, figuring out who might fill that need, and then making a phone call to ask is light years beyond their energy levels, capacity or current interest/ability. Instead, make concrete offers: “I will be there at 4 p.m. to drive you to the park for a walk,” or “I’ll come over around 9:00 tomorrow morning with tea.” Be reliable.” (Quoted from Huffington Post)
I wanted to include this quotation because I thought it made a really good point, and phrased it much better than I would have. Be reliable and supportive.
Recognize when you’re doing too much. It may be necessary for the grieving person to have someone there with them for much of the time. That is good. However, you need support as well. The job you’re doing is intense, and likely you’ll have feelings that you aren’t sharing with your friend. Also, if the person is dependent on you for support, what happens if you can’t be there for some reason? Make sure your loved one has people like close family members, friends, and neighbors available for support as well.
All in all, show your love. Show up. Don’t let the intensity of the situation cause you to do nothing. Even if the person who is grieving isn’t particularly close to you, it never hurts to offer support. Listen. Be a friend. Be love. Love is the thing that lasts.
Some information and quotations taken from Huffington Post: How to Help a Grieving Friend by Megan Devine
(Note: You can ALWAYS message me to talk about something! If you’re unsure about how to help, or dealing with grief yourself, let me know and I’ll do my very best to help. <3)