Grief – a heavy word that often leaves us feeling speechless and helpless. In a society that can be uncomfortable with open displays of sadness, it’s no wonder we struggle to navigate supporting someone who’s grieving.  But what if we reframed grief as an expression of love? What if the most powerful thing we can do is simply be there?  This blog offers practical tips and dispels common myths to empower you to support those who are hurting.

  • Be Genuine and Honest People grieving have a built-in “authenticity detector.” Ditch the platitudes and forced cheer. If you’re stuck for words, say so! A heartfelt “I’m so sorry for your loss” or “I’m thinking of you” speaks volumes.
  • Actions Speak Louder Than Words A handwritten card, flowers, or even a thoughtful text can be a source of comfort. If words fail you, consider starting your message with one of the suggested phrases above.
  • Be Patient and Present Grief is a marathon, not a sprint. The bereaved may want to repeat stories or cry – that’s okay. Lend them your ear and hold space for their emotions.
  • Share Memories Talking about the deceased can be a powerful balm. Share funny stories or anecdotes that celebrate their life.
  • Offer Practical Help Sometimes, the weight of everyday tasks can feel overwhelming during grief. Offer specific help – “Can I pick up groceries?” – to ease the burden.
  • Prioritize Self-Care Just like on an airplane, put on your oxygen mask first. Supporting someone in grief can be emotionally draining. Make sure to prioritize your own well-being too.
  • Stay Connected Don’t let the connection fade after the funeral. Reach out regularly – call, text, or video chat.
  • Offer Suggestions (Gently) If they seem withdrawn, gently suggest a walk or opening a window for fresh air.
  • Empower, Don’t Minimize Remind them of their strength and the things they’re good at. If needed, suggest professional support like CRUSE.

Remember: What Not to Do

  • Avoid comparisons to other losses.
  • Don’t tell them how to feel.
  • There’s no “right” timeline for grief – avoid phrases like “It took me a year to get over it.”
  • Skip the dismissive platitudes like “At least they lived a long life.”

By following these tips and letting go of unhelpful societal norms, we can create a space where grief can be openly acknowledged and supported. Remember, even the smallest gesture of kindness can make a world of difference during this difficult time.