Finding the right thing to say or do when a loved one is grieving can feel impossible. Any single word or action cannot heal the feeling of loss. So, how does one even start to comfort a grieving loved one?
While it seems like a daunting road, comforting someone who is grieving is less complicated than many might think. The first step is easy – reach out.
That is it. Just send a message or pick up the phone. Many people fear being bothersome in such a difficult time, but human connection is invaluable. Reaching out to check in or express your condolences will not remind them of their loss, as they will not soon forget their grief.
Once you hurdle the barrier of initial contact, there are many ways to comfort a grieving loved one.
1. Find your way to express love.
Whether you show love by cooking up a storm in the kitchen or sitting quietly near someone in a time of need, any form of expression can make a huge difference. It may not take their mind off of their loss, and it doesn’t need to. Show them love, and comfort will follow.
Your loved one may not want to talk right away. It may take days, months, or years for them to talk about their loss. But when they are ready to speak, be prepared to listen.
3. Build connections.
Offer to connect them with others going through – or who have previously gone through – a similar experience (if you know of anyone). They may decline the offer, but they may find solace in speaking with someone who really ‘gets it.’
4. Remember that grief lasts a long time.
Many people will reach out with kindness soon into someone’s grieving. A smaller number will reach out the following week, and so on. Being sad is lonely, and even a thinking-of-you text can be extremely comforting.
5. Do and tell. Don’t ask, and wait.
Grief can take over a body completely. It makes it difficult even to do simple chores.
Make a casserole and tell your loved one what time you will drop it off. Go over to mow the lawn. Remind your friend they can ask for anything, but don’t wait for them to ask.
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