When somebody loses a loved one or even experiencing a major loss in their life – like a business or home –acknowledgment from friends and family can vary. Friends might send a card, make a phone call or even just send a text. Some friends will check in every few days for a while and then drop off. It’s typically only those truly close to a grieving person – like the spouse or a parent – who provide ongoing support until the person is “OK.” OK is in quotations because there are some losses we never really get over. We just learn to continue living and functioning.
It can be difficult to wrap our minds around the grief someone is experiencing if we haven’t been there ourselves. And typically, someone going through a loss wouldn’t expect others to understand their feelings – they just need support. A quality support system can make the difference between someone processing a loss in a healthy way and not. It can make the difference between getting on with their lives or not.
National Grief Awareness Day is a time to pause and think: is there anyone in your life who has suffered a loss who perhaps you could be there for a little more? If so, below are some ways to support a loved one who is grieving.
Touch base even if you feel unprepared
Often people avoid someone who is grieving because they simply feel underprepared to interact with the person. It can feel intimidating. You can worry that you aren’t qualified to speak to the issue or really help the person heal. You might fear that you’ll say the wrong thing. You might even be afraid to be around their emotions, for fear that you’ll absorb them. All of these fears can drive people away from a grieving person, which leaves them quite isolated. Don’t let your concern of being unprepared stop you from showing up. It’s better to show up and make mistakes than to not be there at all. As for taking on their emotions – that’s what good friends do for one another sometimes.