When someone we care about goes through the pain of loss, we naturally want to support them and make sure they know we are here to help them through this difficult time. But it can be hard to know what to say and do, especially if you have never experienced something like this before. This guide will help you know what to say and do, as well as give you memorial ideas, if someone you love has experienced the loss of a loved one so you can effectively show your support.
Saying “I am sorry”
The death of a loved one can be an incredibly difficult time for family and friends. It is so important to show support during these times of grief by sending letters or emails, calling, or visiting in person. When speaking with someone who has lost someone close, try saying I’m sorry sincerely. This will help them know you sympathize with their loss and are there for them if they need anything. Even if it is not your loved one who has passed away, always ask permission before sending flowers or other gifts when someone has experienced tragedy in their life. This shows respect for how much they have been affected by their loss and may even prevent uncomfortable moments when others wonder why you did not offer similar gestures when they experienced heartbreak in their lives too.
Offer ongoing support
Most importantly, let them know you’re there for them. It may not feel like you can fix what happened or fix their pain, but they need to know that you care and want to be there for them. In her book, On Death and Dying, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross states that in helping people through grief, it is important not only to offer support in concrete ways but also by simply being with [them]. What does that mean? You might listen attentively while your friend shares memories of a lost loved one. But in any situation where you can be present with your loved one — without offering false platitudes — that is support in its purest form.
Listen when they need to talk
Being there for someone who is grieving means listening when they need to talk, without interrupting or minimizing their feelings. This means spending time with them, even if you are not sure what to say. Listen intently and repeat back whatever you think is important. This shows that you care and are trying your best to understand what they are going through. You can also help by telling stories about experiences where others have had similar things happen. This will help them know that they are not alone in their grief, but it can also make them feel better by showing them that others have made it through situations like theirs.
Give sympathy gifts
When a loved one is grieving, it can be hard to know what kind of support they need. In some cases, friends and family will bring food. In others, they will offer help with chores around the house. Unique remembrance gifts from Laurelbox provide a personal touch for these types of situations. Whatever your loved one needs from you during their time of mourning, make sure that you show that you care through thoughtful gifts and gestures. Most importantly: Be flexible. Grief is not something that follows rules or guidelines — your friend might not feel like going out for dinner today, but they might want pizza tomorrow — so follow their lead when it comes to your support.
You never want to add to someone’s sorrow, but you can be there for them in their time of need. Offer them sympathy and support when they need it most.