Grief needs to be witnessed. The grieving heart needs to be seen, heard and felt by the listener. They need to feel validated in their loss, this is achieved through affirmation from others. Witnessing another’s grief does not include judgement or advice. Just being present and attentive as they tell their story will provide a great deal of comfort.
Avoid platitudes It’s hard to see others in pain. Our human nature wants to find a way to stop someone from suffering. Although our words may be coming from a desire to help, often times what we do say is not helpful and may make them feel as though they aren’t trying hard enough to “move on”. Avoid phrases that include: “at least”, “you need to be strong”, “they are in a better place now”, “your loved one wouldn’t want you to be sad”. Instead choose phrases that provide validation of their feelings such as “it’s understandable that you would be feeling this way”.
Follow their lead Listen, Listen,Listen and then listen some more. Allow them to feel what they are feeling. Respect their timing on how long they want to discuss something. Be comfortable with silence. Don’t compare losses Their loss is their loss, even if you have experienced something similar avoid comparing losses. Should they ask you how you coped with your loss, explain only from your own experience and not from a place of telling them to do things the way you did.
Ask how you can help Offer specific, practical help. This could be that they need you to just sit with them or it could be as practical as taking out their garbage for them every week for a while. Often people in grief don’t know what they are needing at the time. Offering some suggestions may be the place to start.
Grief Tips and Tools
Stay Connected Keeping in contact with those that you are close to will help with feelings of isolation and loneliness. Let them know when you are struggling and need a shoulder to lean on. Join a bereavement support group to connect with other that understand the pain of grieving.
Write a Letter, Journal or Create a Memory Project Having a project where you can pour out your emotions can be very comforting. Gather meaningful photos, personal items etc. Journal whatever comes to mind. Memories of special times spent together, the plans that were made and will now not happen. Let the feelings and memories flow out of you.
Be Kind to Yourself Be patient with yourself. Grieving is hard work. Going for a walk and being surrounded by nature can help sooth and calm your emotions. There is no timeframe as to how long you will feel these intense emotions. Allowing these feelings to move through you, is all part of the grieving journey. It’s ok that you are feeling this way right now. Trust the process.
10 Simple Things You Can Do When Your In Grief
1. Go for a walk. Even if it’s only for 10-15 minutes. 2. Before you go to sleep, name 3 things you did today. Went for that walk, had a bath or shower, ate something healthy etc. 3. Send the person you are grieving love. Your love for this person didn’t end when they died. The love continues, tell them you still love them. 4. Engage in the bigger world for 30 minutes each day. Read a news article, listen to the radio or watch a news program. Seeing that life continues outside of your grief will help you see other things are happening. 5. Distract yourself intentionally throughout your day. It may be going to work, doing a hobby or watching a tv show. Do something that will occupy your mind so you can have a break from your grief. 6. Talk about your loss with someone who will listen without them making suggestions about how you should grieve. 7. Recognized what activities continue in your life. Work, household chores, and familiar routines that have continued. 8. Do something nice for yourself. Treat yourself to something that you always enjoy. Give love to yourself. 9. Write down 3 things that you have always wanted to do. What’s your bucket list? 10. Do something for someone else, even if it’s small.