What people need from others when a loved one dies:
I have had people ask me this question before. I am answering it, not from a counseling perspective, but from a personal perspective. Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things to walk through. It’s similar to broken heart or the process of forgiveness in that you never really know how long the healing will take and it is very painful.
These are some things you can do to comfort someone when they lose a loved one.
1-Validate their feelings.
Let them feel whatever they feel; sad, angry, hurt… There is a gamut of dramatic emotions that come with the death of a loved one. It is good to allow them to have their emotions. Owning your feelings allows you to move through them. Say to them: “I’m sorry for your lose”, “I am sorry you are hurting”, “It’s ok to cry”, etc.…
Allow grace for their turbulence of emotions. Don’t expect them to be ok; it takes time; they are hurting. Love them through the process.
2. Go to the wake or funeral. It may not seem to be important or matter to them at the time, but as they look back and reflect, it was an act of love to be there for them. It will demonstrate you cared. Even if you aren’t real close to the person, this speaks volumes that you took time to come.
3. Bring food to the wake or the home, after the funeral. Again, it is an act of caring that will matter later.
4. Send a note or bouquet after the funeral, about two weeks later. I call it the aftermath; when it is over and reality sets in; they need to know you care. Life starts to go on; and they are not able to do that yet. The note encourages them and lifts them up.
5. Pitch into the funeral cost.
If there is financial difficulty on the family, instead of, or along with, sending flowers, pitch into the funeral cost. This is something that is often a burden on top of the mourning process.
There is cost starting as low as 25.00 up to 5,000 plus. The sign in book, the casket spray, the casket itself, and the church fee are a few examples. Ask them, or a family member how you can help.
6.Handle some of the details:
If you are very close to them, take some of the load of making decisions off. Make some of the decisions for them or go with them, so they are supported in the process. For example, the orchestrating of the funeral service takes hours and lots of thought or collecting pictures and music for the services, is another good idea.
Tell them with words and actions that you care and you are concerned about how they are doing.
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