Helping a Person through Grief

 

Helping a person who is grieving can be gut wrenching. It’s good to ask ourselves if we are in the right place to help someone else or if we need to connect that person to others who can help.

 

For the first days, weeks or months following a sudden loss, friends and family may find it helpful to take turns staying with the grieving person. It is not necessary (or even possible) to stop the grief. What may be of most help is to:

 

  • Just be there

 

  • Listen quietly and non-judgmentally​

 

  • Allow the person to say what they need to say or to say nothing, to cry when they need to cry, and to fully express all the painful and complicated emotions they are experiencing

  • Not judge the person's feelings or say that they shouldn't feel this way or that they shouldn't cry anymore

  • Don't argue if the person feels responsible for the loss—gradually and gently try to help the person see things from a different perspective

 

If the grieving person talks about wanting to end his or her own life, acknowledge the pain that the person is in. If the person is displaying suicide warning signs, follow through with calling 1-800-273-8255, BestCare at 541-475-6575, or 911 if  you feel it is an emergency.

The process of grieving, though gut wrenching is also a process of healing. If a person who has experienced loss does not seem to be able to grieve fully, but seems to hide all the feelings inside, it is time to get help from a professional counselor. You can gently confront the person and caringly introduce the subject of counseling.