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Posted on December 1, 2022 by jhcadm

Working Through Grief: How to Help the Ones We Love When They’re Grieving

Grieving can be a long process, and as much as we might want to be able to waive a magic wand and make everything better when a friend or family member is grieving, it simply doesn’t work that way. When it comes to helping someone who is grieving, the support that’s needed can alter drastically from person to person. One person may simply need your emotional support—to know you’re there and that you’re thinking of them—while another may need more practical, in-person assistance with things like cooking and cleaning; especially during the funeral planning process when the initial grief is so raw.

Step one is having an open conversation with your loved one about what they need and offering your assistance. Offer to cook them a meal or take some daily chores off their hands while they process through the first days and weeks after a loss. It can sometimes be easier for a grieving person to accept assistance that’s offered rather than asking for it outright, even if it’s really needed.

But what else can you do?

Show Your Support Through Actions

We previously mentioned empathy, and this is absolutely critical for helping loved ones through difficult moments. When it comes to grief in particular, it’s important that the person never feels judged for how they are grieving; after all, this is an incredibly personal process and there is no one right way to do it. For example, mood swings are common during the grieving period and can often leave an individual feeling exhausted and unlike themselves. Comforting your loved one and reminding them that it’s okay to feel and process at their own pace can go a long way to making them feel sane and heard. 

Listen more than you speak. This is another method of demonstrating support that may seem obvious, but it is actually one of the most commonly ignored. The truth is, when we see a loved one in pain, we often feel the need to try to make it better; and sometimes the way to do this SEEMS to be explaining away the problem. Unfortunately, this can actually have the negative effect of (unintentionally) minimizing the weight of the grieving person’s feelings. Instead, it’s far more important to listen. Let the person who is grieving tell you what they need and then provide help from there. This is a far more helpful and empathetic approach that doesn’t accidentally disrespect the very real experiences of the bereft.

Trust Your Instincts

At the end of the day, no one knows your loved one and what they need during the grieving process better than you—not even us. Make sure you’re maintaining open and honest lines of communication, and your loved one will appreciate you for it. We know this time can be difficult, but you will get through it.

We Are Here To Help

For more tips on how to show your support to someone who is grieving or for more general funeral and grieving tips, you can check out our blog or sign up for Grief Support events facilitated by Hospice of Michigan. Our Funeral Directors are also available to answer any specific questions you may have about funeral planning, the overall funeral process, or the options available to you and your family. 

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