How To Help A Friend Cope With Grief
What is Grief?
Grief is a natural reaction to loss. When we speak of grief, we usually mean the
emotional impact caused by the death of a loved one. These feeling usually include
denial, guilt, anger, loneliness and finally acceptance.
A Gradual Process
Time alone cannot heal grief; it takes hard work and is a gradual process. There
are three main phases to grieving:
Believe the death really happened.
Experience the pain of grief.
Learn to live without that person. When someone dies, the person left behind may
be in shock or denial. Rituals after death affirm that the death really happened.
A funeral can help formally recognize and mourn the death.
A grieving person must experience pain in order to begin healing. One must be willing
to listen and give the bereaved the opportunity to express their feelings.
The third phase in grieving is to learn to live without the person who died. The
deceased played an important role in the day-to-day tasks. The living spouse needs
to determine how to manage by identifying the tasks the spouse performed and finding
What You Can Say
Following are suggestions that might be useful when offering support to the bereaved:
Say, "I'm sorry."
Give them the opportunity to talk about the deceased.
Allow them to share their memories
Validate that grieving is normal. Ask them how you can help.
Remember, the best support you can offer the bereaved is to listen and be understanding.
You don't need to say much. You just need to be there for them.
What you can do
Attend the service
Offer referrals to local support groups.
Suggest resources and reading material
Volunteer to make phone calls.
Help with transportation arrangements.
Support rituals and rites of death.
Make frequent contacts over the months.
Life is changed from the moment people are told about the death of a loved one.
They feel helpless and powerless. Remember that anything you can do or say to offer
support can only aid in their grieving process.
What You Can Write
Acknowledge the loss of their loved one: "I just heard the sad news about your father's
Express your sympathy in a sincere way: "Let me first extend my heartfelt sympathy
to you and your family."
Offer assistance: "I want you to know I'm here to help any way I can."