Supporting Someone Who Is Grieving

Posted on August 15th, 2021

If you have a friend or a family member who has recently experienced the death of the loved one, it can be difficult to know how to support and comfort them. Some people may be happy to express their feelings, but equally some may hide them away – everyone handles grief differently and there is no right or wrong way. If you have never experienced the loss of a loved one before, it might be hard to understand the feelings they are going through… even if you have, others may react differently or behave in ways you do not agree with – but the main way you can help somebody is to just simply be there for them. It’s important to understand that everyone has their own way of grieving but read on for some advice that may be of some use.

Be there for them…

If they want to, it’s always good to let your friend speak about their lost loved one as they may want to reflect on their memories and time together. The best thing you can do when this happens is to just simply listen, or even join in the conversation or ask questions if you feel comfortable doing so. Equally, some individuals might rather sit in silence, and not talk about how they feel – if that is the case, chances are they will still enjoy and appreciate your company, knowing they are not on their own.

If your friend is responsible for making funeral arrangements, they may not want to do it alone – it can be tough to process and may feel like a lot of responsibility – so without pushing, perhaps ask if you can shoulder some of the work to ease their emotional burden.

Why keeping them busy may not work…

Although keeping someone who is grieving busy, or simply trying to distract them, may seem like a good idea, it may not always be as helpful in a long-term sense. Burying their pain underneath every activity can be an effective coping mechanism in the immediate aftermath of a shock or loss, but over time this could result in the natural, painful feeling of grief feeling unmanageable for longer. Instead, perhaps you might help them carry out their daily tasks – even simple tasks like showering, brushing their teeth, cooking or cleaning may feel like a heavier burden than usual – and offer to lend an ear (or a shoulder to cry on).

Helping when you are not with them…

It is important to realise that someone who is grieving might also need some space to grieve alone; it can be overwhelming and some ‘fresh air’ and time to think may be required at times. You may want to check in from afar –something as simple as a text to let them know you care for them, are thinking of them, and are available if they need you, could be all that is needed to bring some comfort. Offer them your help, even a message saying ‘let me know if there is anything you would like me to do’ could give some much-needed reassurance that they have someone to lean on when required. They may wish to stay indoors for a while – so perhaps offering to help with their food shopping, or take care of children or pets, to provide some time to think could make a big difference.

Provide ongoing support…

Grief is a long-term process – and many people say that their feelings of grief never fully go away, only get more manageable over time. It’s important not to assume that anyone is no longer grieving – the experience is different for everyone, and it may take longer than you think for the pain to fade. Your ongoing support will be appreciated and practical help – such as picking up their children or assisting with day-to-day tasks – might continue to be useful, giving your friend a ‘breather’ and a chance to process any overwhelming feelings if it all gets too much.

When it comes to helping a friend or family member who is grieving, simply making sure you show them that you care, and are willing to listen and help them however you can (even if they decline), may make the world of difference. Here at Freedom Funerals, we have made it our aim to lend our support to people throughout this most difficult of times, from giving advice on practical funereal matters to simply listening if you need to talk. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out – give us a call on 01206 862 963 or email us at