Supporting the Grieving

Supporting Family and Friends Who are Grieving

When someone is grieving, emotions are often heightened. Try to acknowledge feelings and reassure the person his or her reactions are natural and necessary. Do not pass judgment on how well the bereaved is coping with their loss. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Knowing your loved ones may not cope with their loss the same way you would is important to their healing.

Try to be understanding of all cultural and religious perspectives regarding illness and death; others may have perspectives different from your own. Be specific in your willingness to help. Offer to assist with chores such as childcare or meals.

Lastly, acknowledge life won’t be or feel the same for the person grieving. Help them renew interests in past hobbies or introduce them to new activities when they are ready.

Hospice SupportHospice Support

Supporting a Grieving Caregiver

In order to support a caregiver who is grieving, ask how you can help and listen to what that person need. Empathize by saying you are sorry for their loss but avoid saying you understand; even if you yourself have been a caregiver. Express your concern about how their loved one’s illness has affected them personally.

When caregiving ends, it’s normal to feel both grief and relief. A caregiver will often feel guilty about any feeling of relief they may experience. Remind that person these feelings are normal and common. Caring for a loved one can be exhausting and the caregiver often does not receive enough sleep and doesn’t eat well. Encourage a grieving caregiver to obtain adequate rest and nutrition. Also try to offer the grieving caregiver ways to occupy some of their time with meaningful activities. Help him or her get back into a different lifestyle that is acceptable at a different pace.

Grief and the Holidays

For many people, the holiday season is a special time of year marked by festive celebrations and gatherings with family and friends. It’s time to look ahead with excitement to the New Year. For those struggling with the death of a loved one, the holidays are a difficult time full of painful reminders that may magnify a sense of loss. Coping with grief at such a time seems discordant with the world.

Hospice professionals suggest planning for the approaching holidays. Holidays are stressful, but the added stress of loss can become unbearable. This can affect someone emotionally, cognitively and physically. This is a normal reaction so make sure to allow these feelings if necessary.

Try to remember the holidays may not be the same. Doing things a bit differently can acknowledge the change, while preserving the past. Be careful not to isolate yourself from your family and friends. Take time for yourself but also acknowledge this may be a hard time for the people around you as well. Talk over your plans and share how you feel with your family and friends. They may be more helpful than you know. Be sure to respect others choices and try to compromise if necessary.

Most importantly give yourself permission to do what’s comfortable. That could be continuing with old traditions while spending time with family and friends, or trying something different. Whatever you decided, do what’s right for you.