During each stage of grief the needs of the bereaved vary. However you can help a loved one along the path towards healing by simply supporting them as they grieve. Not trying to diminish their grief, but helping them go through the grief process.
By understanding a few basic things about grief will help you to be a support to a grieving loved one.
Understanding The Grieving Process
Shock, denial, anger, guilt and depression are all common states to pass though during grief. There really is no “right” or “wrong” way to grieve. There is not a time frame or an expectation that a person will ever be “over it.” By going through the grieving process many people do eventually find hope and acceptance. Supporting, listening and standing by you can help your loved one go through grief.
Both sympathy and empathy are important to support a grieving friend. Learning how to listen with empathy is probably one of the most important things you can do.
What to Say
I think most people sense that it’s better be quiet around mourners. It makes us feel helpless, but it just seems like there are no words that could possibly help. Listening is the most important thing you can do to help, but there is also a time to offer words of comfort. When it comes time to speak, there are some phrases that can be wonderfully helpful to the bereaved.
What to Do
The best ways to express sympathy are not difficult, expensive or time consuming. There are very simple things that you can do today that will mean the world to a hurting loved one.
Grieving Children: How to Help
Children of all ages experience grief. The effects of grief may vary a lot between children and adults, but it’s there. So often children get overlooked because they seem fine or because no body quite knows what can be done or said. Children don’t have to be left out of the grieving process. They need to find hope and acceptance as well.
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