Death is as much as a part of life as birth, yet we are often stuck for words when facing the bereavement process. What do you say to your friend when someone they love has died? How can you best help them? Is there anything you can do to ease their pain? Why do you feel so useless?
Moving Through the Grieving Process
Grief is a normal part of life. When we lose someone important to us, we automatically go through a period of grief. Everyone’s bereavement journey is different, though we generally all pass through the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. There is no time limit to grief, just a passage of time when we adjust to living without that special person in our life anymore. When you are on the outside looking in at someone’s sadness, it is hard to know what to do or say. The uncomfortable feelings we have may cause us to leave our friends alone, ignore them or be frightened of saying the wrong thing. Grief experts are firm about one thing though – the most important thing you can do is to be there for them.
Helping During Bereavement
There are four main ways how you can help a friend who is grieving:
- Listen – either in person or via a phone call, listen to what they have to say without judgement. Sometimes they might not want to talk at all and that is perfectly fine. Sometimes they may want to repeat the same story about their loved one again and again, which is also fine. Just let them know you are here to listen to them if they would like to talk.
- Be Practical – offer practical support such as cooking, washing or putting the kids to bed. Use your initiative and tell them that you are here to help them and say how you are going to do it. Don’t wait to be asked as often when people are grieving, they don’t ask for help.
- Keep Being There – all too often people are supported up to the funeral and then the help ends. Be there for your friend in the days, weeks and months afterwards as they adjust to life without their loved one. Special days such as birthdays and Christmas can be hard for them, so offer your support then too.
- Keep Watch – depression is a normal part of the grief process, but if after time things are not looking better and continue to worsen, seek help for them. Signs such as talk of suicide, alcohol or drug use, continued withdrawal from others or lack of personal hygiene can indicate that they may need professional help which you can initiate for them.
Sometimes you just want to send them something a little special to show you care, whether that be a gift basket of edible goodies or a pamper bath pack. Choose from our large selection of Thinking of You Gifts and we’ll organise delivery right to your friend’s door on your behalf. We also offer a custom design service, where we can pop together a parcel tailored to your recipient. Please contact us to assist you with this.