Most people in the US are uncomfortable talking about or dealing with grief. It is not a topic for general discussion. In fact, grief is often avoided at all costs.
But grief needs to be acknowledged and expressed. It is the normal and natural emotional response to loss. Many of the things we have learned about loss are from books. To help anyone who is grieving, you need to deal with their broken heart, which requires emotional support.
There are many different situations that produce grief. Besides the most obvious one, the death of a loved one, you can experience grief over a divorce, a job loss, the end of a relationship or a serious illness.
Whatever the situation is, remember that there is nothing you can do to change it. It’s impossible to undo or alter the past. There is nothing you can do to ‘fix’ it.
Whoever is grieving has to learn to live with their new normal. That healing work happens internally.
Each person will experience grief differently. While there are similar feelings to expect, there is no specific timeline or checklist to follow.
Now, you might be thinking – “Well, what can I do? How can I help my friend (or family member) deal with their grief?”
For starters, you can offer your support just by being present. Show up. There is no need to feel obligated to speak. Even if you say nothing, your presence will be appreciated.
If you do speak, here are few suggestions of things you might say:
“I feel your pain.”
“I am sorry for your loss.”
“I’m here for you.”
“How about a hug?”
“Would you like to talk about your loved one?”
“How are you doing today?
There are simple actions you can take if you happen to live near them.
You can pick up essentials at the grocery store or bring meals in freezable containers. Offer to watch the children (if they have them).
Or you can simply ask if they want company. Sit and listen or invite them to go for a walk.
And never underestimate the value of a simple phone call. No matter how far away you live you can always call to let them know you are thinking about them.
Grief is a part of life everyone experiences. It’s an individual process.
Open your heart and listen.
If you or someone you know is dealing with loss and needs help, please reach out to find a time to talk. You are not alone. I am here.