September 12, 2020

How To Help Someone Who Is Grieving.

 If someone you know is currently grieving the loss of a loved one, it can be difficult to know how to comfort them. There is no right or wrong way to comfort someone because everyone reacts differently to grief. You might be afraid of saying the wrong thing or making your loved one feel worse about their loss. These worries shouldn’t prevent you from being there for your loved ones. Your goal Is to be there for them in whatever ways necessary. You don’t need to have all the answers or the perfect words to say. When a loved one is in the grieving process, they may experience extreme emotions and behaviors, so you should never take an “out of character” act personally. 

Not Everyone Grieves The Same

The first step in helping someone who is grieving is understanding the process and what that person might be going through. Through research, we have found that on average, people who are grieving go through the same five steps. Not everyone goes through them at the same time or in the same order, but typically everyone goes through the same five steps. 

The steps in the grieving process include:

  • Denial 
  • Anger
  • Bargaining 
  • Depression
  • Acceptance 

Much like there is no correct method to follow when grieving, there is not a universal timeline on how long someone is in the grieving process. For many people, recovery from a death can take between 18 and 24 months. For others, the process may take much longer or shorter. The most important thing is to be near your loved one in case they are in need of any assistance. They are allowed to grieve as long as necessary. 

How Do You Comfort Someone Who Is Grieving?

Many times we think comforting someone means to have the perfect words to say and bring all the answers to their questions, but most of the time it’s actually more important to listen. If you have never been around anyone that has lost a loved one, you may feel that mentioning the deceased is a sign of disrespect and shouldn’t be talked about. It’s not terrible to talk about because it can help the person who is mourning to know that their loved one won’t be forgotten and that the loss is acknowledged.

In conversation, you should never try and force someone to open up, but it’s important to let your friend or family member know that you’re there to listen if they want to talk. Talking about the deceased person is okay if the subject is brought up. Don’t steer away from it. Engage and share stories and memories with the person who is grieving. 

If you don’t know what to say to your loved ones, a simple card can go along way. Personalize the card to fit the situiation or leave it generic. Either way, they let the person know that you are thinking about them and that you care. 

Circle of Grief

 The person who is at the center of the grief is in the center of the circle. I.e, a wife just lost her husband. The wife, being the center of the circle, is allowed to cope in any way she wants. From the center circle, another circle is formed that is slightly bigger. This next circle would contain relatives who are the closest to the person who is at the center. Typically, this is someone who is in the same bloodline. Circles gradually get bigger the farther you get from the person in the center.

The concept of the grief circle is simple – comfort in, dump out. It is appropriate to offer comfort, but negativity should not be directed to circles more inward than yours. If you want to seek your own comfort it is better to direct that towards people in your circle or better yet, rings farther out than yours. There are many ways to help no matter what circle you’re located in. Create a schedule that people can sign up for and make meals for a few weeks, offer to do yard work, pick up groceries, etc.. To someone who is grieving, there is no task that is too small. 

Grief Isn’t a One Size Fits All

Whether you or someone you know has recently lost a loved one, the grief process isn’t the same for everyone. Each person has different ways that they deal with things, but in their time of being vulnerable and sad, it’s a good idea to know how to handle it. Be close to the person if it’s appropriate and take the necessary actions to help the mourning know that you’re there for them if they need assistance. 

If you have experienced a death in the family, let us take the stress off your shoulders. Planning a funeral can be an overwhelming experience for anyone, but our staff helps the process go as seamless and respectful as possible.  Read our article on the benefits of pre-planning a funeral in order to reduce added stress.

If you have any questions about the grief process or if you would like to talk to one of our funeral directors, call us at (402)-474-3600


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