At Fox Monuments, we understand the pain and grief that comes with the loss of a loved one. Our mission is to provide support and guidance during a time that’s usually very stressful and painful for people. We know what a disorienting time this can be. However, we also know the importance of those who consistently support their friends during times of bereavement.
We know that we never forget the people who stand by us during hard times. Often, when we see friends struggling with grief, we want to do everything we can to help them, even if we can’t be with them. However, we may feel unsure of how to help them or feel immobilized by uncertainty. Therefore, we’ve put together a list of the ways you can support a grieving friend. Keep reading for more information.
1. Don’t Try to “Make It Better”
No matter what, when we lose a loved one, it’s painful. It’s difficult, and sometimes, just plain unbearable. Basically, there’s no making it better. A lot of us make the mistake of trying to minimize the loss by producing a “silver lining.”
If you try to “make it better,” it will usually backfire. So saying things like “everything happens for a reason” or “they’re in a better place” will make them feel misunderstood and lonely. It’s okay for you to acknowledge their pain by saying things like “this is terrible.” In fact, it will help them to feel less alone.
2. Be Prepared to Witness Emotions
So many of us clam up or feel instant discomfort at the first sign of emotion. However, during times like this, you must brace yourself to witness it if you want to be supportive. Of course, it’s tough to watch our friends in pain that we can’t simply erase.
But if you’re willing to be a companion to your friends during painful moments, it will be an enormous help. Let them feel their pain when you’re with them, and don’t let yourself freeze up from discomfort.
3. Don’t Take Unpleasant Behavior Personally
Obviously, we know that with grief, comes enormous sadness. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the only thing they’ll feel is sadness. In fact, many psychologists describe grief as a sort of temporary insanity. Therefore, your friend may feel anything from confusion, to anger, to exhaustion or even rage. Severe grief is usually an alternating combination of all of these.
So, if they’re uncharacteristically short or treat you with hostility, don’t take it personally. It’s important that you keep in mind that they’re not themselves right now. Try your hardest not to snap back at them or feel compelled to return their hostility. And remember: grief does not end at the funeral, they may not be themselves for quite some time after leaving the cemetery. Try to be as patient and understanding as possible.
4. Offer to Do Even the Most Ordinary Things
Grief is excruciating. Anyone who has recently suffered the loss of a loved one may struggle with even the most basic, rudimentary chores or errands throughout the stages of mourning. Everyday tasks may simply feel beyond their ability to complete.
Therefore, offer to do specific things, rather than asking “is there anything you need?” It’s very likely that they don’t even know which tasks they’ve been neglecting. So offer to do specific things, like cleaning the house or picking up groceries. If there’s something you see they’ve forgotten, simply do it without asking. Make this a priority for as long as they need it.
Conclusion – Fox Monuments
Ultimately, you can be a tremendous support system by listening and paying attention. At Fox Monuments, we know firsthand the countless ways you can help your friends by supporting them during times of grief and hardship. We’ve served Long Island’s Jewish community for decades, and provided support by crafting gorgeous, enduring monuments that are a lasting tribute to lives and legacies.