10 Ways to Help a Grieving Person

Grief Support Holding Hands

  1. Go to the wake or funeral or both. It is extremely hard to witness grief this way, but it is also an extraordinary show of love and compassion and shows your support. IT means A LOT!!
  2. Offer SPECIFIC help – like cooking, cleaning, writing thank you cards, going out to dinner, a cup of tea, lunch, grocery shopping, babysitting – anything you can do. Vague and general offers of “Let me know if there is anything I can do” sounds nice, but it isn’t enough and probably will not be taken up.
  3. Say – “I am so sorry for your loss.” Period. Hug them if you feel it is ok. Let the bereaved talk to you and LISTEN to them. Keep QUIET! REFRAIN from saying the clichés – He or she is in a better place, you have other children, he/she had a long life etc. etc. These might be well-meaning but THEY ARE NOT and can be hurtful.
  4. Pray for them and tell them you are by sending a spiritual bouquet or Mass Enrollment Card, say a rosary with them or just a few Hail Mary’s. Take them to Mass.
  5. Grief is a process and is certainly not over after the funeral. Everyday moments will still be almost unbearable, so show the bereaved a great deal of patience, understanding and compassion for a long time. There is NO TIME LIMIT on the grieving process.
  6. Talk about the person who is gone. A great fear is that our loved ones will be forgotten. So go ahead and share stories and memories about them. It feels good to know that a loved one is remembered. Cherished memories are very special and healing.
  7. Find a good bereavement program and/or support group like here at Visitation. See info on the bereavement web page or call the Church Office for Contact info.
  8. Organize some type of memorial for the deceased which might include a plaque (here on the wall at Visitation), a park bench, a special garden at your home. One person took all of the sympathy cards she received on the death of her husband and made a lovely framed poster.
  9. Don’t be offended if your phone calls, emails or texts go unanswered by the bereaved. Life can be overwhelming at this time – so don’t take it personally. Just keeping in touch from time to time will still mean a lot to the bereaved.
  10. Use your special talents to comfort the family – like crocheting, knitting a prayer shawl, creating a scrapbook or a piece of art, beading a rosary or sharing some framed photos, etc. These will all be treasured by the family for many years to come.