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6 ways to help a loved one through grief.

As a friend or as a family member you want to support and help your loved one through their grief. This can be challenging. Hopefully, these tips and advice can give you some guidance.

1) Be aware that your loved one is experiencing extreme stress

People who are grieving may feel confusion, panic, anxiety, guilt, numbness or many other feelings. These are not emotions that we experience on a daily basis. When processing grief people’s coping mechanisms are extremely challenged. Know that this is a completely normal reaction to an abnormal event.

2) Know that there is no time frame for grief

Everybody's grief is different. There is no time frame or correct way to grieve. There is no point where someone should feel a particular way. Try to have no expectations on the person who is grieving on any particular timeframe. Know that each person’s grief is unique and everybody wants help and support in different ways.

3) Forget about saying the right thing

Grieving individuals are often avoided by other people. The reason for this is that people are uncomfortable or do not know what to say. And that is OK! However, grief can be very lonely and isolating. Know that your presence or words can support the person in grief. When you are uncertain about what to say or when you feel uncomfortable, just tell them.

4) Talk about their loss

Let the grieving person know that you are there for them. Allow the person to share as much as they want, when they want to. Know that not everyone wants to talk about their feelings or loss. Simply let them know that you are willing to listen anytime they choose to share.

5) Limit the questions you ask

People in grief are often experiencing stress because of inappropriate questions from others. Try to avoid asking questions for your own curiosity. For example, asking about the cause of death or for specific details. If the grieving person wants to share their experience, they will do so at their own pace.

6) Suggest a support group

A support group can be helpful for a grieving person to adapt to life after loss. Support groups are a safe environment where they can tell their story and express their feelings freely. In this space others will be understanding, non-judgemental and supportive. Support groups create connections with others who are in the same position. This can help reduce the isolation brought on by grief. Do you want to suggest a support group for your loved one? If you do not know where you can find a suitable support group, please feel free to contact me and I will help you find one.