Grief is an overwhelming process not only to the one going through it but also those who care about them. If the deceased loved one died due to the negligent or intentional act of another person, this may intensify the grief.
If someone you know is facing the wrongful death of a loved one, it can be difficult to know what to say or feel your support is enough. Here are five suggestions for offering comfort and support.
Acknowledge Their Feelings
Telling a grieving person “Please don’t cry” may seem harmless but it also devalues their emotions. It may be uncomfortable to see your friend or loved one cry or experience anger, however, it is important to acknowledge these feelings and treat them as valid.
Everyone experiences grief in a different way and it may not always make sense to you. Just remember it is your job to offer support, even if feelings appear intense or unusual. Leave your judgment at the door and allow people to express themselves fully during this difficult time.
“How may I help?” or “I am here if you need anything” are among the best statements you can make to a grieving loved one. Sometimes, the minutiae of daily living is too much and people need your assistance.
This may involve making them a week’s worth of freezer meals or mowing the lawn. If grief leads to anxiety, making telephones calls to finalize funeral arrangements or death certificates can be essential. Sometimes, just having someone there when the survivor finalizes documents or consults with an attorney can help.
Do Not Disappear
It is common for people to stop checking in after the funeral. They’ve got busy lives, but unfortunately for the person grieving, their lives have all but stopped. It can be extremely difficult for the person who lost a loved one to experience wave after wave of love and support, and then suddenly nothing as the days and weeks pass after the funeral is over.
If you are a good friend or close relative, stay in contact. Even if your friend or loved one wants time alone, a text message simply stating “I’m thinking of you” offers support without requiring a response. You may never hear back from them until a few days later but you let them know you are still there.
Also, understand that holidays, death anniversaries, and birthdays will be difficult. Many people withdraw, afraid they will upset the survivor. It is true that these may be days of tears, but completely ignoring milestones can make this grief much worse.
Stay Away from Clichés
People commonly use clichés like “they’re in a better place” or “it was just their time,” but these can be awkward and are of little value.
It is better to say, “I’m sorry, I don’t know what to say,” then repeat the same tired clichés about death. If you love someone, any time they pass away is too early. This is even more applicable when the loss is due to an accident or intentional act. Your loved one is dealing with shock and anger as well as loss. In these cases, it is better to offer help or simply state, “I’m here for you.”
Do Not Exclude Them
Acknowledging grief does not mean you must exclude them from activities they enjoy. You may hear “no” frequently, but people often feel better just knowing you thought of them.
So, continue your invitations to social gatherings. You do not want to force a transition into activities with guilt or pressure. Offer the option and if they feel ready, they will say “yes.”
Mazow | McCullough represents survivors who lost loved ones under tragic circumstances that could have been prevented. We understand the grief involved in wrongful death claims and can handle your case with compassion and experience. Contact us today to schedule a consultation by calling (855) 693-9084.