At some point or another, most of us will find ourselves consoling someone who has lost a loved one. For most, it can be challenging deciding what to say and when to say it. We may have a fear of saying the wrong thing or even possibly upsetting the grieving person even more. Expressing sympathies can sometimes be uncomfortable. Here are some tips on how you can help the bereaved.
Reach Out Quickly
Delaying contact may only make the situation more difficult. Reach out as soon as possible with a phone call, note, sympathy card or even a text. The contact doesn’t have to be lengthy but make a connection promptly.
Don’t Make it About You
Avoid the temptation to suggest you know how they feel or bring up a loss of your own. This is their time to grieve and you can help by respecting that. Understand that everyone grieves in their own way.
Being a good listener is key in helping the bereaved. Allow them to talk and tell their own story. Listen carefully and compassionately.
Offer Something Specific
If you tell the bereaved “Let me know if you need anything” you are putting the ball in their court. Instead, offer some specific help like cooking, transportation, housecleaning, babysitting, pet sitting or other assistance.
You can help those grieving by showing your support by attending memorial services and expressing your condolences in person. A simple but sincere “I’m so sorry” and a warm handshake or hug can go a long way.
Avoid Grieving Advice
Allow the person to grieve in their own way. Avoid suggesting they may be grieving the wrong way or telling them about the stages of grief.
While the days following the death of a loved one can be a blur, grief can last for weeks, months and even years. Those grieving can often benefit from an invitation for coffee, lunch or a movie in the weeks following final services. Don’t hesitate to reach out.
The Benefits of Pre-planning
Keep in mind grief isn’t something you can fix. You can minimize some of its weight on those closest to you however, through pre-planning your funeral. They can take comfort in knowing services were conducted the way you preferred and that some decisions have already been made. Where funerals have been pre-paid, it also takes care of any financial concerns relating to the funeral. At Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes and Crematory, we would be honored to assist you in pre-planning. Contact us to learn more.