My Friend is Struggling with...Death of a Loved One


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How each person processes grief is unique to them. Adjust to a world without the loved one. The types of adjustments include external such as finding a new place to live or closing bank accounts , internal redefining oneself apart from the relationship with the loved one , and spiritual considering the impact of the loss on your worldview.

Find enduring connection with the loved one while going into a new life stage. One common misconception about grief is that you should encourage people to "get over it. Help find a way to remember your friend's loved one with a special memorial project, whether it's planting a tree, creating a scholarship or another meaningful activity. At the same time, encourage the person to continue to discover new aspects of herself and what life means for her now. Allow the person not to express anything at all.

Popular culture tends to insist that people "let it out" while grieving. We usually believe that if you do not express your emotional reactions to a trauma, you will be unable to move on from it. However, research suggests that this is not entirely true. People experience and process grief in very different ways. Do not try to force any emotional experience on them. Studies about loss in general, and bereavement in particular, actually suggest that people who do not express negative emotions abut their loss may actually be less stressed and depressed six months later.

If the people you're trying to help want to express their feelings, support them, but don't pressure them to do so. They may simply be using another valid way to cope. Method 2. Acknowledge that a death has occurred. Be honest and tell the grieving person you don't know what to say or do. Then ask what you can do to help. I'm so sorry for you and your family, and I wish I knew how to help. What can I do for you? Do household chores or run errands for the bereaved. The days immediately following a loss tend to be particularly hectic. If the bereaved does not ask you to help with specific activities, offer to pick up groceries, help with housework or cooking, or care for pets or children.

Attend the funeral and other gatherings. Don't worry about saying the right things. Simply being there is a show of support. You might consider sending a sympathy card, flowers, or a CD of uplifting music. If the person is spiritual, you could send the person something that affirms her traditions about loss and death. Be sensitive. How cultures and spiritual traditions deal with grief, death, and loss varies widely.

Listen and express compassion for your friend. Simply ask if she feels like talking and then sit silently and listen. Allow the grief to take form in tears, as well as happy memories. Sitting closely and hugging are great ways to physically support the bereaved. Crying is an appropriate way to express your empathy for the bereaved. Smiling or laughing when funny or happy memories are shared are ways to honor the life of the dead. Method 3.

Watch for signs of severe depression that require intervention.

It's normal for the bereaved to feel depressed, [30] but these feelings can develop into a more serious problem, if left unchecked for an extended period of time. Tell the person you are concerned. Studies suggest that the most intense feelings of grief usually last about six months, although it varies from person to person. This is a continual, heightened state of grief that keeps the person from processing emotions and moving through them.

Supporting a grieving friend or relative

Recommend seeking professional help if you notice any of the following: difficulty functioning in normal activities, alcohol or drug abuse, hallucinations, withdrawal and isolation, self-harm, and talk of suicide. Locate bereavement support groups. Contact local organizations and groups to ask for guidance helping your friend. If you think your friend will decline, you may even try telling him or her you'd like to join the group and ask them to go to support you.

Continue to support your friend long after the funeral.

Stay in contact and offer words of encouragement. Grieving is an ongoing process, so the bereaved will likely need extra support for at least several months. Help your friend be prepared to handle future triggers and be prepared to offer extra support at those times. You can help your friend manage triggers by planning activities to distract from them, establishing time during events to briefly reminisce about the deceased, and creating new traditions and routines. My partner has lost her father very suddenly but every time I say anything she is very angry with me.

What can I do? Try as hard as you can to not take the anger personally, as this is part of the grieving process. One way to help a grieving friend feel less alone is to simply remind them that you care. Ask how they are doing today.


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However well-intentioned, these general offers to help rarely work. Few people like asking for assistance, and in the immediate aftermath of loss, people struggle to name what they need. Volunteer to create a schedule for friends who want to drop off meals, run out to buy toilet paper, babysit, or mow the lawn. By suggesting something specific, you take the onus off your friend to define what they need. Most platitudes are born out of good intentions.

We want to lessen the blow, find a silver lining, or fix the unfixable. Rather than running away from their discomfort, try sitting with it. Just be sure to stick around to hear it. Resist projecting your own experience onto others. Too often mainstream notions of grief fail to appreciate how people from different backgrounds, cultures, and religions respond to loss. Let your friend be their own best expert on how to move forward. The late best-selling author and health care reform advocate Elizabeth Edwards once gave an interview in which she talked about how friends hesitated to bring up her son who had died 1.

She never would.

Share the best and worst things that have been said to you!

And she loved knowing that others remembered her son fondly too. Ask questions about the people your friends have lost. Losing someone we love is deeply unmooring. It's also natural to begin to feel a bit better. A lot depends on how a loss affects your life.

What grief is

It's OK to feel grief for days, weeks, or even longer. How intensely you feel grief can be related to things like whether the loss was sudden or expected, or how close you felt to the person who died. Every person and situation is different. Feeling better usually happens gradually. At times, it might feel like you'll never recover. The grieving process takes time, and grief can be more intense at some times than others. As time goes on, reminders of the person who has died can intensify feelings of grief.

At other times, it might feel as if grief is in the background of your normal activities, and not on your mind all the time.

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21 Ways to Help Someone You Love Through Grief | Time

As you do things you enjoy and spend time with people you feel good around, you can help yourself feel better. Grief has its own pace. Every situation is different. How much grief you feel or how long it lasts isn't a measure of how important the person was to you. If you're grieving, it can help to express your feelings and get support, take care of yourself, and find meaning in the experience.

Out of Order: Dealing with the Death of a Child

Take a moment to notice how you've been feeling and reacting. Try to put it into words. Write about what you're feeling and the ways you're reacting to grief. Notice how it feels to think about and write about your experience.

My Friend is Struggling with...Death of a Loved One
My Friend is Struggling with...Death of a Loved One
My Friend is Struggling with...Death of a Loved One
My Friend is Struggling with...Death of a Loved One
My Friend is Struggling with...Death of a Loved One
My Friend is Struggling with...Death of a Loved One
My Friend is Struggling with...Death of a Loved One

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