The loss of a loved one is, of course, a painful process. As we always say, grief is not something you need to or feel like you have to go through alone. Even with this, the loss of a loved one can also be an uncomfortable process for those surrounding an individual that is grieving.
To begin with, before delving into this post it is important to clarify that no matter how uncomfortable you feel or the situation may make you feel, it is vital to acknowledge their loss.
Knowing what to say and the ways to reach out to someone grieving can be nerve-wracking. We have all been in a position where a friend has lost a loved one and we’re slightly unsure of what to communicate.
Even though I have lost a father, I genuinely struggle to reach out to individuals that have lost someone close to them. A lot of the time, I may shy away from phoning or messaging them because I genuinely do not know what to say.
Nevertheless, saying something is better than saying nothing and although we don’t want to remind someone who’s grieving of the loss they have suffered; you never know how much your message may help them or give them some sense of comfort.
Most times, we are afraid that we will say something completely wrong. Even with the best intentions, our words can sound unpleasant – we get it! However, there are particular phrases and things that you should steer clear of when discussing grief with a bereaved loved one.
Alternatively, if you’re struggling with how to start a conversation, thinking of ways to support a griever, or practical ways to support a bereaved person.
3 Top Tips When Supporting Someone Bereaved
I would like to share with you 3 quick tips that will help you in the process of supporting a bereaved loved one.
A grieving individual will often need a lot of emotional support, and nothing shows this more than someone that’s a good listener. Give the grieving individual your undivided attention and remain focused on what they are saying.
You can imagine how much courage it would have taken them to pick up your call or perhaps respond to your message – attempt to talk less and listen more.
Acknowledge the feelings that the bereaved individual is expressing – try not to disregard them. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions too, but also ensure the questions are not forced. If you sense the bereaved feels uncomfortable or tired from the questions, you can leave things there.
Also, know that there may be moments of silence too – that is perfectly okay! You don’t need to feel like you have to talk, or something needs to be said at that moment – no matter how awkward the silence may feel simply let it pass.
Don’t be afraid to talk about the deceased
Conversations with a grieving person typically tend to steer around how they’re feeling or how they’re coping – which is fine. But there is also no harm in bringing up their lost loved one, for example, what you loved about them or the impact they had on those around them. It may feel like a taboo but don’t be afraid to mention their name in conversation – it provides a sense of normalcy.
Focus on the bereaved
You may not understand their loss or how they are processing their grief but try not to make anything about yourself at any given moment. Ensure you are not focused on your feelings, as that is an easy way for the griever to deflect away from their situation and feelings – and that’s certainly not the outcome you want!
As someone that has experienced loss (first hand), I tend to steer away from talking about my experiences with grief – unless I’m asked. In those times, I can then share some tips on what helped me and how I coped
Over the last few years, we here at The Balanced Wheel have provided a few handy resources on bereavement support. We even have a bereavement support group too, if you’re yet to join! But here are some specific posts to help you as you journey through the process of supporting an individual that has just lost a loved one.
We hope that you’ve found these resources useful. If you’re someone that has experienced, are there any ways that friends or family members supported you that you found helpful? Let us know in the comments.
Balanced Wheel Editorial Volunteer
Beatrice joined The Balanced Wheel team in 2020, 2 years after losing her dad to cancer. She started as a content writer for the team, then moved on to social media management and now volunteers as an editorial contributor. Beatrice is fun-loving, and just like the meaning of her name, she’s easy to love. Beatrice follows her dad’s love for cooking with her food blog and baking business, where she is obsessed with making Red Velvet Oreo Brownies.
“You can follow my food page on Instagram for more exciting and simple recipes, as I follow my dad’s love for cooking.”