“I am trying to Comfort her, she is grieving”
” No, you are not!”
“You are doing it the wrong way”
“I know how she feels”
“No, you don’t truly know how she feels”
Have you tried comforting someone who has lost someone dear but couldn’t really get the person comforted?
A bereaved person can be consoled but how you support them in their moments of pain, sadness, depression, guilt is very important.
It’s either you are helping them feel better or worse.
Most people have ended up saying some words they ought not to say to someone that’s mourning or grieving.
Thus, it’s important that you are conversant with the skills, words, attitude and persona required in comforting someone who has just lost a loved one.
Bereavement is inevitable in life.
And grieving is a process and the path to its recovery is in stages.
How we help them go through this vicissitude of life is of paramount importance.
Most of us have been consoling grieving persons the wrong way.
In this article, I’ll try to outline:
7 ways of comforting someone who has lost a loved one.
1. Hold Bereaved Persons Firmly.
From the moment of shock to silence; to wailing, to tears and scream.
Don’t say a word. It’s very important.
That firm grip is consoling in itself.
As the bereaved tries to contain the shock or denial.
Give them the chance to express it but don’t let them off your grip.
This is because, for some people when a bad news is broken to them, some take to their heels.
Some get crazy and harm themselves. Its important to note that shock is a process that displaces a person.
The person is also trying to deny the circumstances.
Being there physically is very important to them.
2. Let Grieving Persons Have A Good Cry.
Crying is a normal expression of an emotional trauma.
Remember Jesus wept!
Crying itself is therapeutic.
It releases the pain associated with the loss of a loved one.
Allow them scream, shout, or sob about how they feel about the separation of their loved one.
At times they may want to be quiet or left alone or talk about their bereaved person.
Even if it takes hours, days, months or years.
Don’t be impatient to see that they transit from grieving to being healed.
Make them understand that their tears, pains, grieving are normal.
They are not abnormal.
Avoid telling them what to feel, do or should not feel or be doing.
It’s an experience, let them go through and come out of it with your care and support.
As they cry, if you feel comfortable, give the person a hug—although this is culture specific.
Or put your arms around the grieving persons shoulder.
A grieving person feels like he is imprisoned, let the person break free through tears.
Your presence and touch is consoling itself.
3. Don’t say words like “I know how you feel”
No you don’t really know how a bereaved person feels.
“Be a man”, “Stop crying” statements should be avoided.
You can’t truly understand the way someone feels during periods of grief.
You may think your situation with theirs are similar but the experiences are quite different.
In other words, don’t judge the way and manner a person is grieving.
Try not to say words that will attempt to make the loss seem less painful.
Some right words you can say to someone who is grieving.
- I don’t know how you feel but I am here for you.
- I am so sorry for your loss.
- My thoughts and prayers are with you
- If you need me, I will be a phone call away.
- I wish I could ease your pain.
- You are not alone dear.
- I am trying to imagine how difficult this is for you right now.
- He/She was beautiful/handsome and full of life.
4. If there is some task you can provide for them, do it immediately.
At moments like this attention, assistance and affection is paramount.
Become handy and emphatic.
Grieving persons find it difficult to ask to be helped.
Help them cook their meals, do their laundry.
Pay their meals.
Even if they reject to be helped. Compel them to accept your assistance.
Ask leading questions that will guarantee you the answers you are expecting.
For example, ‘I bought some fruits along the way, I believe you will care for it ” don’t you?
” I have got some of your clothes cleaned and ready to be used. Can you put have a change?”
“Would you prefer your chicken roasted or fried?”
Just ensure that their needs are met.
As the days goes by, Once in a while, stop by to check on them.
Other Task you can do for someone who is grieving.
- Take them and their pets for a walk
- Help in babysitting their toddlers if any.
- Help them pick their kids if they have any from school.
- Offer to go shopping for them and get them the necessary things they need for their body and soul.
- Take care of the yard and help mow their lawn.
- Help talk to visitors who comes to pay their condolences.
- Assist them with the preparation of the funeral ceremony.
- Let them watch comedies or a fun filled movie.
- Play some board games with them.
5. If you have some warm and humorous memories of the lost person, don’t be afraid to relive them.
It could be some old photos.
Though such comforting words will not resurrect the deceased person but will less the emotional pain.
According to Nancy Cobb, Remembering warm and beautiful memories of someone is an act of resurrection.
You can tell bereaved persons stories too.
During periods of grieving, bereaved persons loves company.
Give them a quality one.
Talk about how nice, beautiful, full of life and gorgeous the deceased was when they were alive.
6.When bereaved persons ask emotional questions,just listen, don’t respond.
Question like “Why me?”, “Is there a God”, “Why did you have to go?”, “Can you let me just die” shouldn’t be answered.
It’s best you don’t reply such.
Just remain silent, hold the person hands if you feel comfortable.
And make sure suicidal materials are not within the reach of a grieving person.
7. You ears are more important than your mouth for a bereaved person.
You’ve got to learn how to truly listen effectively.
Listening emphatically during that time is more important than your response to such emotional questions.
If they start up a conversation about the deceased, don’t give answers to their probing questions.
Just be there and give them your full attention with no desire to respond.
Statements you should avoid saying to someone who is grieving.
- “God gives and God takes” or “God loves him more.” This will get them infuriated. They can’t comprehend the fact that a loving God will watch their loved one die.
- “Be a man” That’s one of the dumbest thing to say to someone who is bereaved. Emotional pain and tears is not synonymous to a particular gender.
- “Don’t cry” Why shouldn’t they? Tears is very necessary for someone who has just lost a loved one. You can even give the person a shoulder to cry on or a handkerchief to wipe out the tears.
- ” Her time was up, you can’t stop death” Those words are harsh to a grieving person, in other words, if you say so, you will make the grieving person feel that the deceased deserved death which it isn’t true.
- “This happened for a reason” No. You shouldn’t say that, it’s not the time to be philosophical or spiritual but to be humane.
You should only respond to logical questions.
As earlier said, grieving is a process and it has its stages.
The stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Your job is to allow someone who has just lost someone dear successfully pass this stages.
Help bereaved persons walk on their path to recovery today.
If you notice some suicidal tendencies, it’s best you take some precautionary measures to help them. today or let them meet a licensed therapist.
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