How to support someone who is grieving

How to support someone who is grieving

We all cope with the loss of a loved one in our own individual way and there’s no ‘normal’ way of grieving.

Sometimes just being there for the other person is all that’s needed, but let’s look at some specific examples of ways to help them through such a difficult time: 

  • Let them know you’re there
    Say you’re there for them when they need you – and mean it.

  • Sit and listen
    Be prepared to simply sit and listen to them talk about their loved one, or keep them company while they cry. You can practice active listening by nodding and saying ‘uh huh’ and ‘yes’ to show them you are really hearing and understanding them. You can also summarise and paraphrase to demonstrate that you have heard them and that you are listening, but don’t overdo it.

  • Ask them
    Ask them how they’re feeling – there are seven different stages of grief so don’t assume you know how they’re feeling. You can ask them if they would like your company or if there’s anything you can do to help them.

  • It’s the little things
    Little things can mean so much to someone who is grieving. Think about whether you can do anything practical, like:

    • Giving them lifts to the bank, registrar, funeral director etc
    • Cooking food
    • Shopping for essentials
    • Housework
    • Babysitting 
    • Pet sitting
    • Help with funeral arrangements / accompanying them
    • Accompanying them to support groups or other activities

Don’t be offended if they turn down your offer – there may be other people helping them or they may not feel that it is the right moment.

  • Suggest an activity
    You could ask them if they would like to do something you know they enjoy or find relaxing. For example, watching a movie, playing a game, playing sports, a round of golf or a weekend away.

  • Tell them about our support services
    We’re there for anyone who works, or has worked, in the automotive industry and their family dependents. Our free and confidential helpline is 08081 311 333 and we also have an online chat facility. Otherwise, you can direct them to Cruse Bereavement Care, or NHS Choices for further support.