We all must deal with loss at some point in our lives, so it’s important that we help support each other through such difficult times. However, it can be tricky to support someone who is working through a loss because everyone grieves in their own way. Here’s some advice for consoling someone who’s grieving.
Check In on Them
Reaching out is always the first step. This can be in the form of a quick phone call or sending them a memento that you’re thinking about and willing to offer support to them. Flowers are typically the most common way to do this, but you must observe etiquette for sending flowers to seem genuine and sincere. Sending them carelessly can appear shallow or insincere, potentially being more offensive because you don’t seem to actually care; you’re just simply being polite.
Once you make this small bit of contact, you’ll have a better idea of whether they would appreciate your company and support or if they would prefer some space and time to themselves to work out their grief in private. No matter how they grieve, your attention and show of support will be appreciated.
Just Be There
If the person experiencing grief does appreciate your company and support, then a good thing to remember is that you will need to spend more time listening than talking. No number of condolences or nice words will help ease the pain. Sometimes a person in grief just needs someone to vent to about their grief or talk about their deceased loved one to process their grief without getting stuck in their own head.
Furthermore, prepare to sit in silence for periods of time. Someone experiencing grief will be wrestling with many strong emotions and will sometimes just need a break from the conversation to confront those emotions.
A lot of people are afraid to ask questions should they accidentally make their grief worse, but it’s actually some of the best advice for consoling someone who’s grieving. While the person in mourning talks about their loved one, asking them questions helps them talk and express their emotions. It further shows an invested interest in their wellbeing and gives them further validation to talk about their grief without worrying that they’re burdening you.
Other questions to ask through their mourning process are about their wellbeing. Ask if they’ve been sleeping and eating, as well as how they’ve been feeling. You do not and cannot fix all their problems, but your compassion will help them persevere to improve.