Grief can create some very uncomfortable situations and relationships. Here are some tips from the Society of Certified Senior Advisors for helping your friends who are grieving:
Help your friends by allowing them to express their feelings and encouraging them to turn to friends, family members, or their religious or spiritual leaders and/or join a bereavement group for support. Be sure to remind them to take care of their own health during this time. Also follow these guidelines:
- Be available. Offer support in an unobtrusive but persistent manner.
- Listen without giving advice.
- Do not offer stories of your own. This can have the effect of dismissing the grieving person’s pain.
- Allow the grieving person to use expressions of anger or bitterness, including such expressions against God. This may be normal behavior in an attempt to find meaning and what has happened.
- Realize that no one can replace or undo the loss. To heal, the individual must endure the grief process. Allow him or her to feel the pain.
- Be patient, kind, and understanding without being patronizing. Don’t claim to know what the other person is feeling.
- Don’t force the individual to share feelings if he or she doesn’t want to.
- Physical and emotional touch can bring great comfort to the bereaved. Don’t hesitate to share a hug or hold your friend’s hand when appropriate.
- Be there later, when friends and family have all gone back to their routines.
- Remember holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries, which have important meaning for the bereaved. Offer support during this time. Don’t be afraid to remind the person of the loss; he or she is already thinking about it.