How to Help a Friend Who Is Grieving
Even if you’ve also experienced the loss of someone close to you, it’s impossible to know exactly what your grieving friend is experiencing. Grief is different for every person. Your friend may move through a spectrum of difficult emotions. At the funeral home, your friend might seem numb or detached from reality. At the reception, he or she might be inconsolably sad. Your friend may even experience conflicting emotions simultaneously. Because grief is unique to each mourner, it’s necessary to adjust your approach to grief support to suit him or her.
Know What Not to Say
It’s quite common for people to inadvertently say the wrong things to grieving friends. Despite your good intentions, it’s easy to cause offense by saying things like, “I know what you’re going through.” Your grieving friend may interpret this statement to mean that his or her grief isn’t as significant because everyone experiences it. Additionally, avoid the following remarks:
- “Your loved one is in a better place.”
- “At least he or she isn’t suffering any longer.”
- “It’s time to move on with your life.”
- “You’ll feel better with time.”
Try to avoid starting sentences with “You should” or “You will.” These sentences are too direct and instructional. Instead, you might offer suggestions. Try saying, “Have you considered joining a support group? If you don’t want to go alone, I would go with you.”
Know What to Say
Knowing what to say is trickier than knowing what not to say. It’s often appropriate to tell a grieving friend that you’re not sure what to say, but you are sincerely sorry for the loss. Since you undoubtedly want to help your friend, it may be tempting to offer unsolicited advice. But quite often, you can best help a grieving friend by remaining silently encouraging and letting him or her do the talking.
At Evergreen Mortuary & Cemetery, it’s important to us that you never feel alone during your time of grief. We invite you to explore our grief support services in Tucson, which are available 24/7 on our website. When it’s time to make funeral service decisions, you can call us at (520) 888-7470.