Wednesday, September 9, 2015

How to Comfort Someone Who Has Lost A Loved One



The loss of a loved one can leave partners, friends, and family devastated. To ease the burden, offer whatever solace you can.


Step 1: Allow them to grieve
Allow the person to grieve in their own way. Don't judge their behavior, which may be erratic at first. Unpredictable moods are normal.

Tip
If you tend to be a caretaker, now is the time to dial it back. You can't fix this.

Step 2: Show empathy
Comfort the grieving person with genuine sympathy for their loss without assuming to know how they feel. Avoid giving advice.

Step 3: Change the environment
Suggest a walk or a drive to remove them from their environment for a short time. They will need their strength in the coming days, so a little relief might be appreciated.

Step 4: Listen and absorb
Listen and absorb any need they may have to dwell on the past or obsess about regrets regarding the loved one. Right now they need to vent and your unconditional regard is crucial.

Step 5: Take on tasks
Offer to take over everyday tasks, like grocery shopping, child care, phone calls, and final arrangements if the grieving person was a family member or very close to the deceased. Running interference and handling phone calls will save their energy and will allow them time to think or rest.

Step 6: Support them with silence
Support them with silence and hold their hand or hug them. Don't push them to express emotion, even if their brave smile seems to suggest that something is being repressed.

Tip
It will take time to get through the loss. Don't stop checking on them and offering your shoulder -- even months later.

Step 7: Get clinical help
Suggest clinical help if the person seems unable to come out of it, especially if they demonstrate difficulty functioning, thinking, acting, or speaking, or they exhibit excessive bitterness, substance abuse, or social withdrawal.

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