7 Ways to Support a Grieving Loved One: Death affects everyone differently and that's why it can be hard to know how to support a loved one who is grieving. Whether they were close to the person or didn't have a good relationship, whether the death was expected or unexpected, you just can't predict how they are thinking or feeling when it happens. Below are some tips that may help to support your loved one through this difficult time.
The easiest way to know how to support a loved one at this time is to ask them. Do they want to talk about their emotions and feelings? Do they want to be left alone for a while to process everything? Are they struggling with any tasks that they would like you to take over? Sometimes just asking is enough to them let you know you care.
2: Bring them food
Grief affects mental health and can cause brain fog, a lack of sleep and depression; this in turn can lead to someone neglecting themselves, forgetting to eat or not having the energy to cook, get out of bed or even shower some days. Encourage them to take a relaxing candlelit bath whilst you cook them some dinner, it can also be a good idea to cook a large portion of food and then freeze it for dinner over the coming days. If you don't live with the person who is grieving, take them over some food in a takeaway box that they can just heat up to give them one less task to worry about.
3: Don't take things to heart
Emotions and grief can cause us to react in ways that we wouldn't usually, this can come in the form of anger, snappy replies, crying breakdowns and picking fights with those we love. If this happens it is important to not take it to heart and try to understand that your loved one is riddled with pain that they don't know how to express and they are showing you that they are in pain. This is not a personal attack towards you so try to fuse the situation with kindness and comfort, or by giving them some space. Rising to an argument or strong emotions will just make the situaton worse.
4: Help with tasks
Little things like paying bills, shopping for essentials and keeping on top of the household cleaning can take a back seat after a bereavement. There is so much involved with planning a funeral and then all of the legal and financial requirements afterwards, so it is no wonder some tasks can get forgotten about. If you notice your friend or family member is struggling to juggle everything then take some tasks off their hands for them, give the house a once over, put some reminders on the bills that are coming through the post, or if they have gotten behind on paying the bills then contact the businesses to inform them of the situation.
5: Speak about the person who has died
When a person dies it can make us worry that speaking about them will make others upset or serve as a painful reminder that they are gone. In actual fact alot of my customers have said that speaking about their loved one regularly actually helps to keep their memory alive and makes them feel a little better. So don't feel bad to speak about the person who has died I'm sure it would be very much appreciated.
6: Check in around special occasions
Times such as Anniversaries, Birthdays and Christmas can be very emotional for someone who is grieving a loved one, particularly if they would usually have spent this occasion with that person. Ensure you check in on them around these times, not just within the first year but going forward too. Let them know that you are thnking about them, meet up with them and check that they are okay.
7: Support their mental health
If you require further support then please contact your gp or an organisation such as Cruse Bereavement on 0808 808 1677