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Helping others handle their grief
When a person you love is dealing with a loss, the most important thing you can do to help them through the grieving process is to accept that everyone grieves differently, and that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Everyone handles death in different ways. Some people cry, while others hold it all in. No matter how they choose to express what they are feeling, it’s important to make yourself available to them- whether it’s a shoulder to cry on, a ear to listen, or just to help them take their mind off of things. Here are some suggestions to help you be a better friend, daughter, brother, or colleague to someone who is hurting.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO
Above all, let the grieving person freely express the emotions that they are feeling. Let them cry, yell, or complain, or just let them talk for endless hours about how much they loved their best friend. Listen contently. But, do not judge and do not freely offer up advice unless you are asked. Find opportunities to focus on happier times. Share stories that brought them joy and happiness. Recount old times. Finding opportunities to help them focus on the happier memories will act as filter to process the emotions that they are feeling.
What else should you do to comfort a grieving friend or family member? Go over to their home and cook dinner for them. Cook a large meal that it can be eaten for several nights. Either cook the meal there or cook it at home and take it over. Serve the meal to the friend or family member to make sure that they eat. And, if you are able, stay and eat with them. Eating alone can be a painful reminder of their loss.
Clean their home. Many times, when someone has lost someone they love, they stop functioning for awhile. Do some laundry, clean the kitchen, or take out the trash. Make things look a little brighter and nicer, and smelling better. Bring in a new plant to spruce things up.
If the grieving person is willing, get them out of the house. Home can be a constant reminder of their loved one. Get them out by going for a walk, to a movie, or to a restaurant. Creating a new routine can help bring a new sense of normalcy into their lives.
All it really takes to help a grieving person is a little understanding, compassion and kindness.