It isn’t a comfortable experience in being around someone who is in the process of grieving. We somehow want to make life good for them again, but instead we might feel lost for words and uncomfortable in not knowing how to support them.
It is a common myth that the bereaved don’t want to talk about the person they have recently lost. Whereas in fact they are often happy to discuss their loved one even though they may end up crying. Allow them to cry and express their feelings, don’t try to stop the flow by offering a tissue straight away. Don’t be afraid to show your own feelings. This will show them that you care.
Don’t let your own worries about what to say stop you connecting with them. In normal circumstances we would suggest going to visit them, but obviously during this covid lockdown that may not be possible for a while. These days people are conducting personal communication via social media or internet video links. Sending a text isn’t quite the same as hearing your voice or seeing you in person. People who are grieving will probably be quite happy to have a distraction from their loss and so feel free to talk to them in the way you normally would; this could be about your shared interests and the people that you both know. And if lockdown allows, and keeping in mind social distancing, maintain the relationship by inviting them out to where you would normally go together. Don’t be offended if they say no, maybe they are not ready to meet up yet? But, they will surely appreciate your efforts to connect with them.
There is nothing to be said of course that will take away their loss but there is lots you can both say to best serve your relationship. You could be very honest and admit that you don’t know what the right thing to say is. You can then follow this up “How can I help?”. Ask them if they want to speak about the loss or the person they lost.
The grief process doesn’t have a blue print that fits all of us. Therefore, we need to understand that people experience this emotion in many different ways, and at different times.
Some people just feel very numb for many days after the loss. The tears, if they come, may hit them at the funeral or there might be a trigger further on, e.g. a piece of music playing on the radio, or seeing a photograph of the deceased. Others may not be able to stop crying for many days. But the way they experience grief is right for them, and so try to be understanding and don’t stop their process.
Being around someone who is in distress can be very draining and so it is important to recharge yourself. You might need to share what you are feeling with another friend, as well as taking time out for yourself.
At Natural Joki Flow we offer a counselling service for a range of issues, including grief and loss. If you or someone that you know are struggling to cope with the loss of a loved one please do call us on 910 665 601 for a free, initial consultation. This can then be followed up by regular face to face sessions, or via video chat on social media.