It can be difficult talking to someone who just lost their loved one. Grief is a complicated and lengthy process that can cause people to behave in unexpected ways. It is important to remember that their pain is worse than any awkwardness you might feel. While everyone experiences grief differently, here are some things to keep in mind when trying to be there for your grieving friend or family member:
Do not be offended if they do not want your help
Coping with death is difficult and what a person needs can change each day, or even each hour. Just because they turn down your advice does not mean they do not appreciate your intentions. Sometimes, even knowing that someone wants to help is enough to make them feel supported and safe. Comfort from friends and family can be invaluable while someone tries to cope with loss – but, sometimes, they would rather be alone. This is not a reflection of you and should not be taken personally. If they turn down an invitation, do not take this as a sign to stop inviting them to anything. Just because they don’t want to hang out today doesn’t mean they won’t jump at the chance tomorrow.
They know when you are avoiding them
Some people prefer to be alone to grieve while others need to be surrounded by friends. Either way, the bereaved want to have a choice so offering to be there is always appreciated, even if they do not take you up on your offer. People will sometimes start avoiding a bereaved friend if they turn down too many invites. Even those friends who were there right after their loss may drift away and stop returning calls. To a certain extent, the bereaved will feel too preoccupied dealing with their grief to want to get into an argument with their friends. But, they do notice, and it can feel malicious. This is why it is better to reach out and say something rather than avoid them consistently.
It can take them a long time to be okay, and they will likely never be the same
If you did not know the person who passed away very well, you might have moved through your grief reasonably quickly. You have your own problems, your own life, and that is okay. But do not expect your bereaved friend to be back to normal in a few weeks. Grieving can take years, and it will change their life completely. In time they will find ways to laugh, smile, and enjoy life again. Expecting them to simply get over it and have things return to exactly how they were before is unrealistic and unfair. Give your friend plenty of time and, as long as they are not hurting themselves or others, let them grieve as they see fit.
It is tricky trying to support loved ones through grief but, rest assured, your attempts are appreciated. For help planning a service, call Oliveira Funeral Home. Our experienced professionals will ensure your lost loved ones receive an honourable ceremony.