One of the most painful experiences in life causing distress is losing your loved one. Often, different emotions keep crawling up your mind like anger, guilt, and depression. If this is so, then how would it be for another bereaved person who has lost his or her loved one? Suppose it's one of your close friends. She might be feeling broken and lonely. If your approach for offering help and support is not in an appropriate manner, it can make her feel worse. In such a situation, you may also be afraid of saying the wrong things or doing something even more wrong. So you may start withdrawing. But this is the time she may need you the most. Healing from intense pain would take much time which may be different for different people. So, what you can do at the earliest is to make her cope up with the situation by easing her pain?

Here, in this write up for you, we will be giving a few tips and suggestions on how to offer your help, support, and care to a grieving person:

The grieving process takes time.
Each person has a different way to get rid of their grief. Each person expresses it differently. So, be empathetic to her. Hence, do not try to tell her how to grieve and control her emotions.

Accept her as she is, at the moment.
She may yell at, cry, or blame people and even at you due to her intense negative emotions like fear, guilt, anger, and despair. Do not judge her or blame her at this time. Do not take her actions personally. Let her feel free to express her feelings freely without any fear which may be like breaking down, crying hysterically for hours, getting angry, etc. Do not make her feel difficult in expressing her emotions. Let her take her own time to heal.

Sometimes listening is more important than just talking.
For a person who is suffering from the pain of losing her loved one, she might be wishing someone near to console her or share with someone the memories of the deceased. Hence, do not avoid her when she wants to share the emotions and memories of the deceased person. She may even repeat the shared story again and again. Listen to her with compassion. Because for her, this is one way of accepting that her loved one is no more with her.

Sometimes silence is better than your words because the grieving person may not be in a stable state of mind to speak. At that time, just give caring eye contact, squeeze her hand softly, or a reassuring hug might be helpful for her.

Asking about her feelings would make her feel better and she may even be more comfortable with you. You can now share your experience if you have also gone through a similar situation. But, do not compare her feelings with what you had experienced, because her grieving process may be different from yours.

Offer practical help and support.
Sometimes a bereaved person just needs your presence to cry on or need assistance in making funeral arrangements or maybe something else. She might not ask anyone for help because of the fear of being a burden for others. You may offer her help in a manner that she doesn’t feel that she is making things difficult for you. Like for example, you can ask her “I am going to the supermarket to bring something for myself. What can I buy for you?”

Following are a few ways by which you can help her:
Bring her food
Help in contacting a funeral director
Look after her children
Be there with her to receive her guests and phone calls
Help in household work
Take her wherever she wants to go
Take her for a walk
Look after her pet
Later on share some time with her in making her engaged with an activity like artwork, etc.

Ongoing support is necessary.
Time for recovering from the grieving process differs from person to person. After the initial shock of loss, your support is more valuable than help. Periodically dropping in and sending letters and cards would help. During this time, do not pressurize her to hide her emotions and keep up the good appearance. Understand that the intensity of pain gets reduced over time but sadness may not go away completely. During festival holidays, family milestones, birthdays, and anniversaries, she may start to grieve again. Hence, you have to be sensitive during such occasions and offer her help.

Keep watching her for any symptoms of depression.
Normally, people would take days to months to get out of their worries and depression from losing their loved ones. But, with time it starts to fade. But, in case it doesn't happen, then there could be some serious problems ie., clinical depression. Help her seek professional help if the following signs prevail even after 2 months.
Difficulty in carrying on daily activities
Obsessed with death-related matters
Over expressive in anger and guilt
Taking too much alcohol or drugs
Hopeless and negative feelings
Talking about own death and suicide

Being there for someone unconditionally, when they are undergoing a very difficult situation in life, would bring them back to their life. Thus, goodness and satisfaction you will be receiving in return will be immense.

Author's Bio: 

Janie Singleton, owner, previously worked in manufacturing and mortgage banking before starting her career in the funeral industry in 2008. She is a licensed funeral director in Arkansas and a fully licensed life insurance agent in Arkansas and Missouri. Janie is a member of the Lions Club of Manila, the Manila Business Womens Club, Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce, and BNI of Jonesboro.