Helping The Bereaved
A Friend In Need, Needs a Friend Indeed!
When someone is coping with bereavement, relatives, friends and neighbours are often supportive at the time of death, however, after the funeral, they may wonder what has happened to their friends. This is where a special person like you needs to be on hand.
One of the hardest things to cope with is seeing a friend upset. Consequently you might find yourself avoiding discussing the death or saying things like: ‘He wouldn’t have wanted to see you crying’.
In reality, most people suffering a bereavement want to talk about their loved one and need friends close by for support. Here’s some of the ways you can help a friend, neighbour or colleague through their most difficult of times:
- Acknowledge the bereaved person’s loss. To ignore it – out of embarassment – just adds to their distress.
- Be a good listener. Letting someone talk about a loved one’s passing is a normal part of bereavement.
- Avoid saying ‘I know how you feel’, or talking about your own bereavements. It is about their loss and feelings.
- Don’t assume anything. Ask them what they would like you to do, but don’t treat them like an invalid.
- If they need time on their own, give them that space but be nearby if they need you.
- Be patient and understanding throughout.
- Reassure your friend that they are still capable of carrying out everyday tasks like shopping, but still be on hand if they need help.
- Be open to ideas. If your friend feels they need counselling or expert help, help them to find it.
- A letter can let the bereaved person know in a few words that you are sad about their loss and are thinking of them. It is thoughtful to add ‘This letter does not need answering’.
- Stay in touch.
- Never assume that the bereaved person should have got over their loss by a certain time.
- A good friend is one who is close by, but knows to keep their distance when necessary.