How to Help a Friend Through the Grieving Process

By: David Tindall
Friday, November 13, 2015

Watching a friend go through the grieving process can make a person feel helpless. The truth is, that grief itself is a personal monster. There is no way to snap out of grief, it’s a process that needs to happen and be respected.

Each person processes grief differently so there is no single right way to help someone through it. However there are many tips that we can offer to aid a person struggling with grief.

Recognize the Stages

The five stages of grief are a standard when processing a loss and by simply recognizing the stages, you can help your friend with different coping methods.

The five stages of grief are:

  1. Denial – Phrases like, “this isn’t possible,” are common to hear when someone is in denial. This coping mechanism is something we do to protect ourselves from the initial shock of loss.
     
  2. Anger – When the shock of the loss and the denial that comes with it begins to abate, it can lead into anger, or feeling of frustration. This is another defense mechanism we use to protect our vulnerability. At this point in grief we are typically not yet ready to feel the emotion fully, so we resort to anger.
     
  3. Bargaining – As people, feeling helpless is not something that we are used to. By bargaining or thinking about all of the “what-ifs” we can feel some kind of control over the situation.
     
  4. Depression – Before acceptance, we must travel through depression. These feelings usually come in the form of regret or sadness. We may also feel depression when thinking about the practical aspects of loss, such as funeral costs.
     
  5. Acceptance – Most people who make it to the acceptance stage will still feel sadness and remorse, but will take solace in accepting their loved one is passed and will admit to a beautiful life lived and be able to move on from the grief with fond memories of their loved one. Not everyone will reach this stage.

Understanding the Individual Nature of Grief

Once you have recognized the five stages of grief, the next step in helping your friend is to throw away expectations and understand that each person will process grief differently. No single person will have the same experience and when it comes to grief, the most important part for a friend is to simply be there. By letting the grief-stricken know that you are there if they need you, they are able to process the grief on their own terms while knowing you support them.

Communication is Key

By communicating often with your friend and asking them if they need anything from you, you are giving them the option to ask for help. At the funeral they will probably experience a lot of people offering help but what will make a real difference in their grief is to follow up and check on them often.

If your communication doesn’t seem to work and your friend is at the risk of harming himself or herself, you can always recommend other assistance for them such as a group or grief counselor.

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...