How To Support A Loved One With Grief

Isn’t strange that we ignore grief in our culture? We acknowledge death & funerals. But not grief. Not the agonizing unending hole in bereaved folks souls. We ignore it. We avoid it. We don’t talk about it. We want everything to be back to normal. This isn’t our fault, it’s due, in part, to our broken emotional-suppression culture.

So what can we do to better support folks who grieve?:
•Validate their emotions.
•Don’t offer a positive spin. Don’t offer platitudes. Nothing will fix this.
•Cry with them.
•Listen. Listen without censorship or trying to make them feel better, it’s invalidating.
•Call them.
•Text that you’re mindful of them.
•Take a meal after the funeral is over, the days after are when support is needed and often missing.
•Ask what things have been helpful.
•Ask what thing have not been helpful.
•Write a card.
•Arrange to help with tasks of daily living (food, cleaning, mail, paying bills, dropping off kids, getting the dogs groomed, mowing the lawn, washing the car, calling credit card companies, picking up prescriptions).
•Send a playlist of grieving songs that will allow them to honor grief.
•Give them a Journal.
•If it’s a co-worker ask what they want bc you want to acknowledge their grief but also understand the complications at work- they may not want to be asked “how are you” as they may break down at work. Or they may want to be asked how they’re doing. ASK.
•Honor boundaries. If someone requests not being texted or asked or talked to about grief, or if they say no to invitations...understand this is a brave request and they’re trying to protect themselves.
•Acknowledge anniversaries and significant dates like birthdays, Mother’s or Father’s Day, holidays.
•When you contact or text include the disclaimer “I don’t expect you to respond just letting you know I care.”
•Don’t avoid them. Invite them. Love them. If they are messy and distant and cold, still show up.
•Send poetry or quotes about grief. Send podcasts. Share a book that has touched you.
•Say you love them.

What would you add? What are ways we can better support those who grieve? Join the conversation!

Therapy and tacos for all,

T. Roe