Struggling to Support Someone Who Has Lost a Loved One? You’re Not Alone.

Finding ways to support someone during most major life events usually comes easily. You might give someone a new blender or curtains as a housewarming gift. You’ll probably consult a well-curated baby registry for a baby shower gift. But how do you support someone who has lost a loved one?

When a person recently loses someone dear to them they are often overwhelmed, making it hard to know what they need or how to delegate. They’re overwhelmed with their emotions, people offering to help, managing their daily life, and the all-consuming aftermath of the loss. They get a lot of “Let me know how I can help” and “I’m here for you if you need anything” from their support system. While genuine, we all know that we rarely take people up on those offers so why do we still say them to one another?

“Being there” accompanied with flowers and a warm meal are most often what people think of when asked how to help someone who has lost a loved one. Although being there for the person and their family is what a compassionate person would do, 75% of those people will not be around weeks later. Why? Because, understandably, they move on with their own lives that include their own struggles and responsibilities. And frankly, many times they don’t know what to say or do. Often regretting not doing anything at all.

In fact, 80% of Americans have suffered from a loss and more than half have said they didn’t know where to turn to. Often, no one knows what to do—neither the people who want to help nor the bereaved individual, especially at the onset of the loss when most people are offering help. Usually, a bereaved individual needs, besides emotional support, is time to cope with the loss. Time without the burden of day-to-day tasks, which become more difficult to complete when you are emotionally devastated. Acknowledging the death and being present with your loved one is a great way to help them emotionally. Additionally, although there are a lot of tasks that the bereaved individual cannot delegate, some can be delegated, such as housekeeping, lawn care, meals, rides, and other practical needs. What’s important to keep in mind is that grieving is a long process and it may be weeks or months later when the bereaved person needs the most help.

What are some of the ways you have helped someone who is grieving? Please let us know by commenting on our video.