When someone you love is grieving, you want to comfort and care for them right away. All you want to do is help. You feel like you can’t stand by and watch a loved one experience so much heartache alone.
However, it’s tough to know what to say or do. We want our loved ones to know we are there for them, but we also don’t want to invade their privacy. It’s tricky balancing the right amount of support, while also giving them their space.
Consider putting yourself in their situation. Between funeral planning and the flood of condolences from family, friends, coworkers and acquaintances—the few days following one’s passing can be extremely overwhelming.
To help, we outline five different ways you can respectfully comfort and care for a grieving loved one.
1. Send Something Thoughtful
One immediate way to show your support without being too overbearing is to send something thoughtful. While many people send flowers, you can think outside the box by sending or bringing them something a little more practical, such as a:
- Home cooked meal.
- Thoughtful card or letter.
- Gift card for a food delivery service.
- Care box with self-care items like essential oils, bath bombs or slippers.
You’re not limited to the ideas on this list. The key is to send something thoughtful that they can enjoy during this difficult time. Perhaps the best gift is one that makes life a little easier amidst the heartache and chaos.
2. Offer Practical Help
If you don’t want to send something, you can also offer practical support with day-to-day tasks.
Many people grieving the loss of a loved one are overwhelmed with end-of-life decisions, including the funeral and financial planning. Normal, everyday tasks can fall by the wayside as they focus of the difficulties of grief and decision-making during this time. Some ideas to help them maintain some sense of normal:
- Pick up their kids from school.
- Walk their dog.
- Do their laundry.
- Clean their car.
- Maintain their yard.
- Take the trash out.
For more ideas, consider everyday tasks your loved one may need help with as they endure the loss and the stress that comes with it.
3. Be Present
Sometimes the best way to comfort grieving loved ones is to be there for them both physically and emotionally. Being present can be as simple as letting them know you’re there for them in their time of need. There are also other ways you can show support:
- Call them just to talk.
- Give them a hug.
- Attend their loved one’s funeral.
- Let them know you’re thinking of them.
- Be willing to listen to them.
While all of these are ways you can be there for a grieving loved one, don’t overdo it. Sometimes people going through the grieving process need their space. Be attentive, but don’t cling. Make sure they know you’re there if they need you, then consider other ways to help them.
4. Remember Meaningful Dates
Grief doesn’t go away when the attention of a funeral has passed. The pain of losing a loved one may become easier to accept and handle, but it’s always there.
Your loved one needs your support in the wake of the loss, and also years after.
A simple and easy way to show ongoing support is to remember meaningful dates like anniversaries, holidays, birthdays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and weddings.
To show that continued care and support:
- Send a card or call them on days you think may be difficult.
- Acknowledge that certain times of year, like the month they lost their loved one, may be difficult.
- Understand that the holidays may be somewhat bittersweet.
- Continue to recall fond memories of their loved one.
Whatever you decide, understand that the person they lost is always going to be with them and they will appreciate your enduring support.
5. Be Patient
The grieving process is different for all of us. Some move through it quicker than others. Those painful emotions may resurface at different times throughout the year and over the course of someone’s life. It’s important to be understanding and patient to those feelings.
No matter the loss, be patient, present and respectful.
Want More Resources to Help Those Coping with Grief?
Losing a loved one is never easy. We all grieve in our own ways and on our own time. If you know someone struggling with the loss of a loved one, subscribe to our blog for more resources that can help you comfort and support a grieving loved one.