Supporting someone who is grieving.
Here are some of the things that have helped me while I was grieving.
Cards. I keep the cards and occasionally read through them, reabsorbing the care and love that was sent with them. Expressing care about the grieving person’s hurt and loss are supportive. Saying that the loved one is in a better place is less helpful.
Flowers. I got a beautiful bouquet on the day after my partner died and it brought lots of light into my life. The next day my neighbors left a bouquet at my door. After those flowers died I bought myself small potted primroses to have to continue this good feeling. It doesn’t have to be an expensive thing, just something natural and beautiful to uplift.
Food. My partner died a few days before Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving day my neighbors left a complete dinner for me and my cousins came and brought food too. It really touched my heart to be remembered.
Stories. Remembering the loved one. Sharing stories about how the loved one lived helps. It is reassuring to know that others valued the one you loved and to know that they will remember them too.
Photos. You may have pictures of the deceased that the family doesn't have. Sharing those is a kindness.
Short notes or phone calls months after can help as well. Most people do something shortly after the death but the grieving goes on for a long time and a little pick me up months later is really appreciated.
Offers of help. The more specific the better. If you know the grieving person well enough to know what would be hard for them and you can offer help, it will be welcomed. For me it was my cousins offering to take me shopping for a Christmas tree and my handyman coming to fix my closet door. Small kindnesses make a huge difference.
Prayers and healing energy. If the grieving person is religious they will welcome prayers. If not, but you are, send them anyhow without mentioning it. Healing energy, such as Reiki helps as well. Be sure you know the person’s personal beliefs enough to support but not impose these forms of comfort.