How to Help a Friend Through the Grieving Process

By: Tom Gallagher
Wednesday, May 18, 2016

When someone we care about passes on, it is a difficult, extremely painful period. However, it’s not unusual to find ourselves in a situation where someone we are close to has lost someone that is close to them. A friend may have lost a grandparent or some other person with whom we don’t share the same close, personal connection. When this happens, we may sympathize with the loss, but our grief isn’t—and couldn’t—be as intense or personal as the person who is bereaved. So what should you do when a friend is grieving, and you want to help?

Be Patient

Above all else, exercising patience is tremendously important in helping a friend through the grieving process. It may not seem like much, and to some, it may even feel like doing nothing. But exercising patience can be the difference between allowing someone to experience their feelings and move on, and inappropriately telling someone, “Just get over it.”

There is no set way to grieve. Some people will take a long time; others may take just a few months or weeks. Some people will need to talk and share their feelings. Others will internalize their grief and deal with it inwardly, going from chatty, easy going people to silent thinkers.

You need to understand and accept this behavior. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and each person will do it in a way that is personal and unique to them. It is a necessary process, and there is no strict timetable, so the best thing you can do for a person during this period is understand and accept the process.

Be Helpful

The tragic reality of a loved one’s passing is that it leaves a hole in the people left behind, and one of the first things to fill that emptiness is emotional pain. Often this pain is so powerful and disruptive that it occupies everything in a friend’s life, especially during the early, recent period of a loss.

When this happens, it’s not unusual—and even expected—for a normal routine to be completely turned upside down. School and tests may no longer feel important, paying the bills or doing laundry seem pointless. At a time like this, one way to show support is to help out a little in the short term. Do the laundry, or drive the kids to school, shovel the sidewalk or whatever other chores may be neglected. You do not want to do anything that will create a dependency in the long term, which would be unhealthy for both of you.

But making assistive efforts during the most difficult portion of the experience can help a friend to better deal with grief. Remember, however; this is only a temporary measure when your friend is feeling overwhelmed. You should not attempt to replace the loved one’s roles or responsibilities. Grieving is a process of accepting the changes in life, not pretending they’re not there.

If you are helping a friend through this difficult time or perhaps are even assisting in the planning of funeral arrangements, make sure they’re done right by consulting with professionals.

If you live in Stamford, CT, contact us here at Nutmeg Cremation and let us use our experience for the benefit of you and your friend to ease the burdens in this time of grief.

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