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How to Help Someone Who’s Grieving
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
When someone we love hurts from grief, it’s difficult to know what to do. What a helpless feeling it is when we want to reach out but we’re not sure what they need. We have the best intentions, and it’s important not to let our hesitance keep us from doing anything at all.
While I know every person means the best in how they extend their condolences and help, these are the things that stood out to me as most beneficial and appreciated in my own times of need:
1. Contact the bereaved to let them know you’re thinking about them and praying for them – whether by phone call, text, email, or card, they need to know they’re not alone. Grief is a lonely time and any extra comfort we can extend in this way helps.
2. Give gift cards – food is probably one of the most common ways people help, and while casseroles are definitely appreciated, sometimes so many come in that there’s no way a family can eat them up or have room to freeze them. Coordinate with others for the actual food, and then consider giving a gift card to a local restaurant for future meals. Gas cards can also help ease a burden, especially if driving has been a part of the care process.
3. Be prepared to listen to ANYTHING they want to talk about – it could be their grief, it could be a memory, or it could be something random and completely off topic. No matter what, let them steer the conversation. Also, be prepared to let silence be okay if they don’t feel like talking at all.
4. Take care of the daily chores for them – feed the pets, mow the lawn or shovel the driveway depending on the time of year, take out trash. Not having to worry about other day-to-day duties can ease their burden.
5. Allow them as much or as little time as they need – grief is a personal journey, and each person proceeds differently. Never hurry someone along or hold them back from continuing their own activities. We don’t know; they could just be processing it all differently than we would, and that’s okay.
Nothing we can do can ever take away the pain someone feels in grief, but if we remember these few things, maybe we can offer truly helpful comfort.
Knowing what to say or do doesn’t come easily. Here are more articles on grief from Loving Christ Ministries:
How do you help someone who’s grieving?