If you know someone who has been bereaved at this time they need your help. There are many things you can do to support them:
Get in touch
The bereaved need support, but most people step back for fear of not knowing what to say. Make contact; send a card, letter, message, flowers or gift, saying you are sorry about their loss and thinking of them. If you knew the person share your photos, say what you remember of the person and how they will be missed. Say you don’t expect them to respond.
Phone (don’t Face time). Be aware they may not want to answer. If so, leave a message, saying you’ll call again and when, and that it’s okay not to pick up. Make sure you do call back and continue to ring, leaving a message as before.
Offer practical help
Shopping, meals, dog walking, gardening – whatever daily tasks might be possible for you to do. Make suggestions about what and when, rather than expect them to think and approach you. Even at a distance you could do admin or phone people for them.
Don’t think that you know. Every bereavement is different and reactions are likely to vary and change. Even if you’ve been bereaved yourself or been trained in grief, you don’t know what this person is going through or what they’re experiencing now.
Ask about the person who has died and what happened, and about their feelings and issues. Listen carefully and keep asking. The more they tell their story, the more they will process their loss.
Don’t give solutions
Your ideas of what will make them feel better are yours and not theirs and assuring them that time will heal or things will improve may belittle what they are facing now. Hear the problems and reactions. Say they are normal and acknowledge their pain.
Ensure it’s not just you
Make sure others are around supporting too and that the person finds as much other help as possible, especially from specialist services. Finding peer support can be really helpful and seeing and hearing others experiences of coming through can often bring genuine hope.
Keep it up
Be prepared to support for the long haul. The grief journey is usually long and can be complicated. It will often get worse before it gets better, but most support will drop away after a few weeks.