Traveling through the valley of grief is like taking a journey through unknown territory. Things once held constant may suddenly vanish in an emotional flux, and the associated stress often places a strain on interpersonal relationships at home and at work.
What Can You Do?
First and foremost, you need to realize that you cannot cure grief and that everyone grieves differently. The simple communication of concern is probably the most meaningful and helpful thing anyone can do. It may be just the thing to steady a loved one, co-worker or friend in need of emotional support.
Some Practical Ways to Help the Bereaved:
Get in touch and keep in touch.
- Say little on an early visit. A simple “I’m sorry” is better.
- Avoid clichés and easy answers.
- Accept silence. Don’t force conversation. Silence is better than aimless chatter.
- Be a good listener and accept whatever feelings are expressed.
- Do not attempt to tell the bereaved how he or she feels. Everyone (bereaved or not) resents an attempt to describe his feelings.
- Allow the “working through” of grief.
- In time, gently draw the mourner into quiet outside activity.
- When the mourner returns to social activity, treat him or her as a normal person. Avoid pity.