How To Help A Loved One Through A Loss

How To Help A Loved One Through A Loss

Friends don’t just celebrate the good times together. They also support each other in times of need.

A feeling of loss can be an incredibly isolating experience. If you’re a friend to somebody going through these experiences, you might feel a strong urge to step in and provide comfort.

While plenty of guidance exists for people grappling with grief, there’s not always a plethora of advice handy for those adopting a more supporting role. These situations can also take their toll on you, especially if you’re unsure where to begin.

More than good intentions are required here. So, with that in mind, we hope some of the tips below might be useful to you if you want to help a loved one through a loss.

How To Help A Loved One Through A Loss

Know Your Limits

If your first instinct is to help the grief-stricken person, that’s admirable. You should be proud of yourself for being so giving and caring. However, you may not necessarily have the skill set to achieve all you might wish for here.

Let’s cut to the chase; you’re likely not a therapist. Even if you were, there’s still a sense of boundaries required if you’re trying to help people in your personal life rather than your professional one. You can’t be all things to somebody or cure away their feelings. There will always be a limit to how much you can help.

Setting those expectations first is important. That way, you won’t take on too much and overwhelm yourself. You need to be a source of strength during these challenging times, and everybody has their threshold regarding how much sadness they can listen to. It’s not selfish to think about your own well-being.

If your friend is seeing a therapist and intermittently approaching you for company and comfort, that’s fine. Otherwise, recommend they see a professional and state your willingness to be a good listener only. Taking on a role much larger than that can be a rocky road for yourself and your loved one if they depend on you.

Send a Sympathy Message

A short sympathy message can be your ideal first response as a supportive friend. They’re quick to compose a touching personal gesture. At the same time, they also maintain a healthy distance between you and your loved one so that you don’t overwhelm them.

If you need help on how to write a sympathy message to a grieving friend, Greenvelope can help you. There are different wording and structural ideas to contemplate here, as well as different nuances you can add depending on the specifics of the relationship you and the loved one have. Be meticulous and personal in the effort, and your sympathy message will surely provide some comfort.

Grief can be something that never truly goes away. Consequently, you may need to send more than one sympathy message to your friend over the years. Don’t shy away from that prospect if it’s necessary. These gestures are a great way to reach out and let the loved one know you’re there for them without pressuring them with phone calls and impromptu visits. It’s a reminder of your love, and they’ll surely reach out if they need you.

Involve Their Other Loved Ones

Support during a loss must be a group effort. As previously mentioned, you can’t shoulder all these duties alone, nor can anyone else.

There are a few key things to remember here. They are:

  • Gaining the grief-stricken person’s permission to involve others in their support network where necessary. Some of these matters may be very private.
  • Feedback with each other over what’s been discussed and shouldn’t be. That way, you’re all bringing something different to the table.
  • Acknowledging each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Some friends may be better suited for a heart-to-heart bonding session, while others may be the friend that provides jokes and distractions to lift spirits when appropriate.

Nobody is alone in these situations. You and your network should rally to your loved one and each other.

Note Particular Times of Year

Grief can feel like a constant companion for those suffering from it. That said, some days can be more challenging than others.

Anniversaries of the loss can be particularly taxing, so reaching out around that time can be a good idea. Other people also struggle to manage these feelings during the holidays, potentially finding the loss more biting when they have more personal time to dwell on it. Once again, your good wishes and company might be treasured at that time too.

If you’ve spoken to your friend about their grief already, they may have discussed which days of their life they find the most difficult. If they haven’t, you could always gently ask.

Still, one can’t always schedule grief. It can come about in waves, many of them seemingly at random. While having a general sense of when the difficult days might be is a good idea, don’t reserve your supportive energies for those periods alone.

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