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How to comfort someone during their grief


The death of a loved one is such an upheaval and traumatic event in someone’s life. It’s one thing to deal with our own grief but it can be difficult for others to come to terms with how they’re feeling during a bereavement. There are some things that we can do to comfort someone during grief:

Talking About It

Sometimes people want to talk about the person they have lost and sometimes not; sometimes they want a combination of the two depending on how they are feeling. Make yourself available and be a good listener, give them an opportunity to talk through their feelings with you. Professional grief counselling allows a bereaved person to talk through their emotions with a trained expert who specialises in helping people in their situation. You could also offer to go to a grief support group with them if they are apprehensive. [Top tips to comfort others]

Help with Everyday Tasks

It may seem cliché to take round food to someone’s house who is grieving but when a person is consumed by grief, particularly in the early stages, they may forget to eat and take care of themselves properly. Not eating properly and their home being in disarray can make them more likely to become depressed, so it can be a massive help to assist with everyday tasks such as housework, going grocery shopping or mowing their lawn.

Get Active with Them

On the other hand, they might not want a complex discussion that day, and just need a hug and an activity to take their minds off things. They need to know they’re allowed to have fun and get out and about even though they are going through pain. Exercise is a great mood booster, and arranging times with them to go for a walk or go swimming can get them out of the house and on the move.

Keep an Eye on Their Sleeping and Mental Health

Everyone tosses and turns in bed when they are sad but some people struggle very much to sleep when they are grieving. Running on no sleep when you are going through a difficult patch of your life can make things even harder. [8 habits of the sleep deprived] If you know they really aren’t managing to get enough sleep or their mental health may be becoming affected, suggest that they go and see their GP for help.

Help with Funeral Arrangements

When someone may have hit rock bottom due to the death of a loved one, the last thing they may be able to cope with is organising the event of their funeral. You can offer support with the arrangements as they may feel overwhelmed with making decisions such as the type of flowers at the service or what kind of buffet to serve. You could also offer to help them call or write to people to let them know that the person has passed away, as repeating this news over and over again having to explain it to people is likely to become extremely difficult for the bereaved.

Make a Memory Book

Helping the grieving person make a memory book with photographs and mementoes can give them a little project to focus on while encouraging them to remember the happy times which can be a healing activity.

Recognising the Different stages of grief they may go through

In the 1960s, a psychiatrist called Elisabeth Kübler-Ross developed ideas that became referred to as ‘the five stages of grief’: denial, anger, bargaining and depression and acceptance.

Understanding what a person goes through when they grieve can equip us with the tools to help them. Grieving is an emotional rollercoaster and a person may display extreme emotions or behaviours that they wouldn’t expect from themselves as grief can affect people in a very intense way. For just a little support watch our videos on loss to help to understand how it can affect someone and what you may be able to do to help.

Comforting someone during grief can be one of the hardest things to do in life, especially when you know they just wish that the person they have lost would come back and all the pain would go away. Significant anniversaries connected to the person they have lost, such as wedding anniversaries or birthdays can hit someone hard. People can grieve for years and will maybe never quite come to terms with that person’s death but time and support from people who care about them can ease their grief and prevent it from becoming all-consuming. You might not know exactly what to say or do but showing them that you do care is the main thing, it’s important they don’t feel alone or isolated in their bereavement.

Ultimately, anyone experiencing grief needs to feel that there are people around them who are there for them in their time of need and that there is a support network available that they can rely on.


This article was contributed by Pink Moods.

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