How to Help Someone Who Is Grieving

holding an elderly person’s hand

Because we all experience grief in a unique personal way, it’s not easy to know how to help someone who is grieving. 

Lend a Sympathetic Ear

Listen attentively and sympathetically. It’s important your friend or family member knows you are actively listening and to their concerns and not judging.

Everybody grieves differently, and their experience is likely to be different from your own or others’ experiences of loss, so it’s important to respect the uniqueness of their grief. They may repeat the same stories over and over, or they may not wish to talk about the death at all. Whatever the case, be patient and show them that you are actively listening. Just knowing that someone is there is a great help to those in grief. 

Give Them Space

People who are grieving need to feel supported while also having room to express their loss. People might react to loss in ways that seems strange to you, and while it’s important to make sure they know they’re safe and supported, sometimes they also need space to grieve in their own unique way without fear of criticism. They might cry, laugh, be completely silent, or express feelings of guilt, anger or blame. The best thing to do in this situation is to accept their behaviour and give them space to express their feeling while gently letting them know that you are present and listening.  

Offer Practical Help

Grief can be a huge disruption to normal life. Simple tasks like washing dishes and doing the laundry tend to seem meaningless to those who are mourning. And especially if they’ve lost a spouse or close family member, they may have relied heavily on the person who died to help with particular chores. If you can, offer to help with tasks like preparing meals, doing laundry, babysitting and grocery shopping. 

Help Make Arrangements for a Funeral

Funeral services are usually arranged by the next of kin or the Executor of the Estate (the legal term given to the person appointed to manage the deceased’s property and assets after death). Sometimes the deceased person has not made a Will or has no family in which case the Public Trustee is available to help. 

If you offer to help with the funeral arrangements, keep in mind the expenses involved. While there are many great affordable funeral services available, it’s easy to get carried away by spending more than you need to. Affordable funeral services generally cover the essentials – such as transfer of the deceased, a beautiful, polished satin lined coffin, cremation or burial, a celebrant or minister, flowers, a death certificate and some printed material such as memorial books or orders of service. Organising an affordable funeral is a great place to start because the family can easily add extra options if they decide to. 

If you need advice or options for an affordable cremation or funeral service, we’d love to help you. Call us on 1300 311 747 to discuss or email us.