The death of someone close affects everyone.
Grief is different for all of us and we don’t all experience it in the same way. Understanding how to deal with a loss and where to get support can help immensely.
Grief is more than just feeling sad. It can have a toll on your emotional and physical senses. Many people don’t realise grief can manifest itself in many forms, especially when considering behaviour around others. Understanding that your reaction may be completely different to someone else’s can be beneficial in allowing you to act in a responsible manner.
Grief isn’t something a person can get a grip of or push aside. Realising that it will pass and that things will get better is important. You can’t force someone out of the grieving process, but being there to help is an immeasurable act.
Helping a friend or relative through a loss
When someone close to you is experiencing grief, you may feel like you’re walking on a tightrope attempting to find the right balance in how to act. Helping a friend doesn’t mean having to adjust everything in your life. Simple actions can have an positive impact.
The main issue when trying to help a friend is not being able to articulate clearly or say the right thing to them. Your friend might not want or need someone there constantly asking if they’re OK, but it helps if you’re in their company and can act as a shoulder to lean on through a very difficult period.
Don’t let someone grieve in silence
In this day and age, when you find out someone has passed away it will be via a short phone call or a text. It’s a distant form of communication and you may feel like its best to let someone grieve on their own. This may be what the person wants, but it helps to check with them first.
The best way to help someone is by seeing them face to face. It lets them know you’re here to help, and let’s you know if they are ready to talk and possibly receive your help. Grief can hit many people like a fog and obscure their day to day routine. Picking up on the little things can help the most; whether that’s making sure there’s milk and bread at home, tasks are carried out, and simple things like picking kids up or giving a short lift is something you can help with.
Don’t leave someone alone after the funeral
Getting back to normal life is often the hardest part of the grieving process. That’s why it helps if you can be the positive force to help a friend or relative want to actively do things again. Simple actions and asking if they want to go for a walk, have a coffee, go the cinema etc, all help rebuild confidence step by step.
Even simply being a presence around them at home helps. It also helps to show your presence at what would be difficult points in the calendar; Christmas, Birthdays and Anniversaries can all have an impact.
Know that there are official channels for help
There are always avenues to seek help after a loss.
In Scotland, Cruse would be one of the main bereavement charities that can provide expert advice and help, especially if you know someone younger who may be experiencing grief.
Other organisations that provide information and advice include:
We can also highlight local groups which may be of benefit to contact for support such as Help me Grieve as one that we have recommended in the past.