10 tips to comfort someone at grief
What do you say to someone who has just lost a near and dear one? You see their pain and grief in their eyes, and you would like to comfort them. But how can you comfort them?
We’ve listed 10 tips for you.
1. Say something! Nearly everyone finds it hard to say words of comfort to someone who’s lost a loved one. Remember the worst you can do, is say nothing at all. For fear of saying the wrong things, we say nothing or worse, we avoid someone altogether. When you do so, the grieving person will feel more alone. You don’t have to say much, but do say something! Acknowledge their grief by expressing your condolences.
All you need to do, is to be open hearted. To be there and listen intently. Seat yourself next to someone.
Humans need to be touched, hugged and cherished. When you grieve, the need for this is even more so. So extend your hand, an arm, your hug. The right touch allows the other to be free and not to feel claimed.
4. Don’t say ‘I’ve been through that too’.
‘I know someone who…..’, by sharing your own experiences, you shift the focus to yourself. All of a sudden it’s not their grief, but your experience and the other is not recognized and supported in their grief. Don’t say ‘I know how it feels’, even if you have experienced something similar. Grief cannot be compared to grief. It’s personal.
5. Uplifting words can hurt
‘It could always be worse..’ or ‘Luckily you still have fond memories together’ or ‘Everything will be ok’. Soothing words can backfire. Grief is the downside of love. By minimizing the felt grief, you deny the love and feelings of the other.
6. Watch out for well meant advice
Everyone experiences grief in his or her own way. One likes to talk, the other will vent their grief by exercising more, working harder or numbing pain by going out. Allow the other person to express their grief in their own way.
7. Give support and acknowledgement
Tell the grieving person that what they feel is right for them. Crying is not a problem, feeling mad is ok and falling apart is normal too. Do not enter a discussion, which is about the feelings of the grieving person. Allow them to have the feeling they can talk to you about anything, without fearing to be criticised.
8. Be patient
Repeating the story can help the grieving process and acceptance of death. So allow the other to tell their story, even if they keep recalling it, and help ease their pain.
9. Offer specific help
‘Shall I come and cook for you tomorrow?’ or ‘Is it ok, if I call you tomorrow?’ Or go round to their place with a big pan filled with soup. Offering concise help and straightforward questions help the other more than sentences like ‘You can call me anytime’. However well meant, that kind of help leaves the other empty handed.
10. Stay committed
A huge suffered loss will always remain a large part of someone’s life. You can mean something to someone when you are there for him or her, It is thoughtful and considerate if you remember the important dates too.
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