Experiencing grief is difficult to do alone. Helping family or close friends deal with grief can be challenging because we all deal with grief differently. We often feel the need to say something to the bereaved and at times we may say the wrong things, making the situation worst.
Some say, “They’re in a better place”, while others say “At least they are not suffering anymore, or “Time heals all wounds”. These type of reassurances can come across as insensitive. Others talk about a loss they experienced to the bereaved but this can be equally trite.
Saying ,”I know how you feel” or “I recently went through the same thing”, can make the griever feel you are minimizing their pain. Try the following 5 steps to help comfort people in grief:
1.) Just be there to listen and cry without putting a time limit on their grief. Sometimes just being there and being silent is what is needed at the time. Love is what is needed to aid others in grief (Proverbs 17:7).
2.) Encourage them to express their emotions to further aid the healing process. Too many times, especially with men, we hold back our emotions. Eventually we have all this grief bottled up and must release it.
3.) Check on them and say, “I’m just calling to see how you are doing today”. Immediately after the loss of a loved one, there are many calls and visits. A few weeks later, most people just move on and fail to continue to comfort the grieved. Remember, some may take a while to get over a loved one. Continue to check on them after the funeral and the days, months and years to come.
4.) Saying comforting words like “I’m sorry for your loss”. A kind word can go a long way toward healing (Proverbs 16:24). Take time to express your love and concern for the grieved.
5.) Pray for them (James 5:16), as prayer can change situations. Praying can provide great comfort and help relieve stress of the bereaved.
Grief is a normal part of everyday life. The key to helping others get through grief is to listen and cry with the grieved, encourage the grieved to express emotions, check on them especially after the funeral, and comfort with kind words (Psalms 23). Remember how you felt when you loss a loved one, have empathy for the bereaved and keep them in prayer.