Supporting a Friend Through the Grieving Process.

By: David Tindall
Tuesday, June 28, 2016

When a friend goes through the loss of a loved one, sometimes we are hesitant to bring up the topic in fear of upsetting him/her. It can be tough to understand how that friend is grieving and find the right way to give them the support that they need. It may feel like they want their own space or act like everything is normal again, but in some cases this may make them feel even more depressed. The first step and and the most important one, is to voice that you care and you are there for them every step of the way.

Understanding the Basics of Grieving

  • Grieving takes time and goes by the pace of the individual.

    The grieving process can go on for a while and each individual is different. Some take months, for others it could take years. Your friend may feel an emptiness or a void in their life that nothing can fill just quite the same. However, with time, your friends pain will lessen.
     
  • Everyone grieves in their own way.

    Depending on the relationship your friend had with the deceased, whether it was an intimate one or a troubled one, it will affect the way your friend handles the grieving process. Different emotions arise depending on the type of relationship and the feelings it brings up for them.

Understanding the stages of grieving.

These stages are according to the American Cancer Society and can help you to understand what your friend may be feeling at this time of loss in their life.

  1. Shock, disbelief or numbness.

    The first couple of weeks after the loss of a loved one can be busy for your friend and they may feel as if they are on auto-pilot, handling the constant visitors and bustle. They may not have had any time to themselves to let everything sink in.
     
  2. Confrontation with the loss.

    At this stage, your friend may feel intense feelings of loss and pain. Symptoms may vary widely from depression, lack of appetite, withdrawing socially, anger, and to guilt. This is the time your friend needs your support the most.


     
  3. Acceptance of loss.

    We come to a point that we accept the loss of a loved one, although we never stop missing them, we eventually find ways to move forward with our lives. At this stage, your friend has managed to deal with the loss in her daily life.

Regardless of the stage of grieving you believe your friend is in, it is also important to realize that people may put on a strong outward appearance which may not reflect their true feelings.

The following are some terms you should not say

  • “They are in a better place now.”  - Everyone has different beliefs about the afterlife. This statement may be against your friend’s beliefs.
     
  • “Everything happens for a reason.” - This often brings out anger as your friend may feel as if they had no control over the reasoning or “master plan”.
     
  • Avoid phrases that begin with, “You should…” - Although you may be trying to give your friend advice, these types of phrases often sound pushy. Instead, rephrase your sentence with, “Have you thought about doing…”

Some Tips for Helping a Friend

  • Make a point to regularly check in either by phone or in person. – It may be easier to communicate through social media or texting, but it is not nearly the same as hearing a familiar voice.
     
  • Offer to help with something specific.  – Instead of saying, “Call me if your ever need anything.”, it would be more helpful to reach out and say for instance, “I made a lasagna for you. When could I drop it off?”
     
  • Listen without feeling the need to offer suggestions. – Many times, a grieving person just wants to talk about how they are feeling or reminisce about their loved one. The ability to simply listen is golden.
     
  • Be sensitive to special occasions. – Feelings of grief typically intensify during special occasions such as, Christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries. Offer to spend the day with your friend or invite them out to dinner but also understand that they may just want to be alone.
     
  • Know when to get help for your friend. – If your friend has shown sudden change in behaviour or has displayed signs of depression for a long period of time (over a year), gently suggest they speak with a therapist or join a support group. Offer to help your friend reach out and find resources.

If you have any questions about helping a person through grief, or you have questions for yourself, please do not hesitate to contact us at the funeral home anytime.

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

Memorial Service Ideas For Families Who Choose Cremation

If your family has chosen cremation for a loved one that has just passed, there are a number of different memorial service options to choose from. A memorial service may also be known as a remembra...

Tips For Making It Through The Holiday Season When You Feel Depressed

During the holidays, it is but natural after the death of a loved one to feel overwhelmed with the memories of the joyful time spent during the previous holidays. Here are some tips that may help y...

Digital Life After Death - What You Need to Know

In the world of digital technology, there is hardly an aspect of your life that remains untouched by the internet. With digital interactions like personal conversations, online shopping, social med...

What is Actually Involved in Pre-planning Your Funeral?

Accepting that death is a part of life is the first step of pre-planning a funeral. Not everyone finds it easy to think about their own death. But as people observe the stress of making funeral arr...

Remembering The Departed At Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for festivities. People spend joyous moments with family and friends with lots of food and fun. They also reminiscence about their loved one who is no more with them but whos...

Ideas for Memorializing Your Loved One After The Service

Tindall Funeral Home has been around since 1904 and is located in Syracuse NY. We have always been dedicated to providing our services to those going through challenging times. Our reputation ...

The Physical Symptoms of Grief and How to Handle Them

When you are dealing with the death of a loved one, the grief and sorrow that you feel can manifest themselves in a number of different ways. These emotions aren’t easy to understand no matter how ...

Should I Pre-Pay for My Funeral?

It isn’t uncommon for people to feel uncomfortable at the thought of death and very few will discuss the idea of their own death. However, today the concept of pre-paying for funerals is becoming m...

The Importance of Honoring Your Loved One’s Final Wishes

It can be very overwhelming to deal with the death of a loved one. Family and close friends of the departed soul have a tough time with managing their grief and all the planning and organizing of t...

4 Simple (But Important) Things to Know about Funeral Costs

Most people don’t think about funeral expenses or the process involved so they are easily overwhelmed when they’re forced to organize one. It’s not uncommon for people to overspend, make poor choic...