When there is a death in the family or someone close to you that loses a loved one, knowing how to deal with them is paramount. Being a support system for those in need can be the lifeline they need. Educating yourself on how to be someone’s emotional support is very rewarding.
Do Not Ignore
Many of us are uncomfortable displaying emotion or being on the receiving end of emotion. It can be difficult to know what to say or do to ease someone’s pain after a loss. Even if you can’t think of anything to say, just reaching out to see how they are doing can be the best thing for them. Letting them know you are there for them and willing to listen if they need someone to talk to.
Consider discussing a personal loss you also experienced and let them know that it does get a little better over time. Let them know that grief is survivable and that happiness is not gone from your life. Time can heal and allow your life to begin again in a new chapter.
Never stop someone from crying and feeling their emotions. It’s okay to be quiet while someone is crying and to provide a gentle touch to let them know you are there. Let the person get their pain out for a moment and don’t rush it. Tears rid the body of stress hormones. It is also okay if they don’t cry as well, since everyone handles stress and emotions differently.
Do not give up on the person bereaving, as it may last a good long time. Send regular check ins and ask them how they are doing regularly. Do not ignore the person who has died, bring up their name and stories, to let them know you realize they were important and not gone in memory. This works as long as the person grieving does not ask you to stop mentioning the decedent’s name.
One thing you can always do for people grieving is to provide them a meal. Food is always necessary to ensure they are functioning and they will not be up to cooking or going out to eat in public. Bringing them food shows you care about their health and well-being, but respect their right to mourn on their own terms.
Don’t mention religion if you are not sure of their religious beliefs. Be careful making statements about being in a better place or that they lived a good, long life. When you lose a loved one, it is never the right time and you never got enough of them in your life.
Take Note of Landmark Dates
If your friends loved one died, remember the date and try to check on them around this time. If it was father, remember that Father’s Day may be hard for them and try to check in. Pay close attention during the big holidays, when family usually get together.