4 Ways To Help A Friend Dealing With Grief
When you’re visiting someone in grief
Have you ever tried to send a message to someone who just lost a loved one? You probably typed and cancelled your message so many times because you had no idea what exactly to say and sometimes, you just decided to take the less messy route and say nothing at all. Or have you had to pay a condolence visit to someone dear and throughout the ride to their place, you went through a million and one things you could say to them but nothing seemed right?
Honestly, the best of us have most likely found ourselves in similar situations and there is a very high probability that we said the wrong thing. Sure, you know what to say to someone who just got a new job and how to congratulate a friend on the purchase of their first car but what exactly do you say when it is the stark opposite of these joyful scenarios that you’re faced with?
Firstly, it is crucial for you to remember that it is not about you.
You do not get to chicken out or cower in fear of saying the wrong thing. Whatever emotion you are feeling, I need you to take it, multiply it by one million and uncountable and then raise it to the power of infinity. This is the amount of pain your friend is in. Now, do you see how obscure and irrelevant your feeling of fear is in comparison?
Secondly, mind your words. Here is a list of a couple of statements that I’m sure the bereaved don’t want to hear;
“She is in a better place.” As far as they’re concerned, the best place for their loved ones to be is with them.
“There is a reason for everything.” Oh, really? So what exactly is the reason for their death?
“At least you have another child.” Thank you very much but they can count just fine, captain obvious!
“She was such a good person God wanted her to be with him.” Sure, they might not mind this statement coming from a member of the clergy but from you, they mind it a whole lot.
“I know how you feel.” No, you do not. Sure, you might have lost someone in the past as well but at that moment, they are so consumed by their grief that they just don’t believe you or care.
“She did what she came here to do and it was her time to go.” Thank you o accurate timekeeper, minder of all things time-related and custodian of the time zones.
“Be strong.” With all due respect sir, but no be you go tell me wetin I go do.
Third, do not try to fix things!
I get it, you just want to take all of their pain away and stop them from hurting but the harsh reality is that you can’t. Unless you possess the ability to raise a person from the dead, you can’t do much in the fixing area. What you can do though, is help. Bring them food, help with chores around the house, offer to help them with the planning of the funeral, keep them company as much as they’d allow and give them space if they require it. Whatever is in your power to help make life a little easier and less stressful for them, do it. But don’t offer more help than you can render. The last thing they need is disappointment.
Finally and probably most importantly, give them time to grieve.
There is no stipulated grieving time or period for healing. The pain they feel is theirs alone. You might be there for them but only they can actually feel the depth of their pain. So, even if it has been years and they are still reduced to a crying mess on some days, zone out on occasion or find it difficult to talk about their loss, don’t be insensitive by telling them they should have gotten over it by now. Instead, you can recommend that they talk to a therapist. We would absolutely love to be of help here at the hub.