How to help a friend or family member with grief
October 31, 2016
Filed under Opinion
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
When confronted with helping another person through the process of dealing with grief of any type, many find themselves completely clueless. It was something I thought I had a general idea on, until my dad passed away. There is no one “right” course of action, there’s just simply trying out different things and seeing what works.
Something to consider is that the grief belongs to the person themselves. While “walking a miles in someone else’s shoes” can be a useful way to relate to what someone may be going through, but sometimes it can be misinterpreted.
During times of grief, a person’s head isn’t exactly in the clearest of states. Someone going through grief may just be figuring out how to keep breathing on certain days. I certainly did.. Help them to figure out how to on their own, but be careful on how advice is offered. If it’s met with anger, step back and let them work it out for themselves.
Being present during a time of mourning is important.
However, Alice Watson (real name withheld), says, “For me, whenever I have grief usually I would leave my time to myself.”
If a friend, or even possibly family member, needs time alone at the start, or even at separate points during the grieving process, then allow them that time alone. If they need someone there and availability allows it, then being there can be very helpful.
Just having someone there to even just cry on allows a person to feel not as alone. Both my family and my friends were there to help me through, it helped to relieve any alone feeling that I may have had at any time.
Self-care is still something to consider. When someone is attempting to help someone through something with a clear mind, when in fact they do not have a clear mind, may only result in more issues than was present in the beginning.
Junior Dax Wilson said, “If you’re also depressed then you can’t help them, get out of that feeling.”
Timing someone’s grief can become counterproductive. Grief will not follow a set time schedule, everyone will approach and accomplish different tasks at different points. Returning to normal everyday routines, such as getting up to going to work and school, will change for everyone. I returned the week school started again, just needing a small sense of normality, but I still found myself needed to leave for a day or two. Even now, 9 months since my dad’s passing, I’m still working with dealing with some of the aspects of grief.
It will end, or even just settle, but it will take a while.
Helping can even at points include doing simple tasks for a friend. Grief is tricky and hard, but it’s something that with time (often lots of it) someone can help them learn to deal with it.