It can be difficult to know how to help someone who is going through a difficult time, especially if they’re dealing with grief and the loss of a loved one. Often, you want to help but feel awkward and don’t know what you can do. Helplessness is the worst sort of feeling in these situations, and it leads many people to back off or not take action because they aren’t comfortable.
In this post, I’ve put together 10 suggestions that you might be able to use to help a loved one in this difficult time.
I’ve emphasized that you should offer to help rather than simply rush to do things that may or may not be useful or helpful. When folks are grieving, they may not know or have the words to express what they really need, or they may feel guilty for asking for practical help. By taking the initiative to offer assistance, you lift this barrier from someone who is already struggling and make it easier for them to articulate their needs.
Yet, because you are offering rather than assuming, you give the griever the power to decide what they really do or do not want. This is also helpful because, when you’ve experienced a significant loss, you can feel as though you’ve lost control of many things in your life. By giving back control even over simple things, a friend or family member can help the griever to feel more able to cope with the unexpected consequences of the loss.
1. Offer to go with them to funeral homes or other places that may be difficult for them to go alone.
2. Offer to help make phone calls and take care of administrative paperwork.
3. Wait a few weeks until after the mourning rush is over, then offered to bring food or prepare meals at their home.
4. Offer to babysit or pick up children from appointments, or give children rides.
5. Offer to do household chores or tasks that their loved ones used to do.
6. Offer rides or offer to go along to appointments or events they may have to attend.
7. Offer to do grocery shopping.
8. Offer to help sort through belongings.
9. Offer help with budgeting or financial planning.
10. Offer to spend time with them without needing to do anything or even needing to talk if they don’t want to.