Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.
— Prof. Elie Weisel, Holocaust survivor and recipient of Nobel Peace Prize, 1986,
When someone is recently bereaved, he or she often needs to express his feelings to get relief from his pain. And to help, all you have to do is to listen….While you can’t take away the pain of the loss, you can provide much-needed comfort and support.
There are many ways to help a grieving friend or family member, starting with letting the person know you care.
The bereaved struggle with many intense and frightening emotions, including depression, anger and guilt. You might not know exactly what to say or what to do, but that’s okay.
Most bereavement counsellors recommend that you let the bereaved do the talking. Just your being there — to hold hands or give a hug — helps him/her heal. Sometimes you won’t say anything. You may just cry when the bereaved person cries.
In the days and weeks following the death of a loved one, the demands of daily living can be overwhelming. Help by bringing over meals, volunteer to do the shopping or cleaning, baby-sitting, or other errands. Avoid phrases such as, ‘Let me know if I can help.’ Be direct
with your offers. For example, say `Let me cook the dinner’ or ‘I’ll like to take the kids to the park.’ Remember to invite the bereaved person to come over to your place or to go out for a meal together.
As time goes on, family and friends return to their normal routines. This is when you can really be there to show that you care.