Over the past year, quite a few people I know have lost someone they love. I will not pretend to be an expert on grief, but I have learned that grief looks different for everyone. I can also advise that you never tell a grieving person how they should grieve.
Everyone’s grief is unique and personal. Maybe you want to be surrounded by the people you love, or maybe you need to be alone. Some people respond with bouts of frenetic planning, while others find even the simplest tasks nearly impossible. A person’s grief may be easily identifiable or may be hidden from the outside world. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to the grieving process.
Grief can come at any given moment and, as such, can take you by surprise. The smallest thing can remind you of the person you lost - a song, a smell, a sight. Grief can find you anywhere - the grocery store, the gas station, or at home on your couch. Anything or any situation can trigger a memory, and your world is immediately turned upside down.
It can be difficult to support someone who is grieving. It’s hard to know what to say. One thing I do know is that you don’t have to say the perfect thing or have just the right words. All you have to do is be genuine and let the person know you are thinking of them. Here are a few more suggestions on supporting someone who is grieving:
It is often called a “process,” but there is no set timeframe or designated path for grief. Everyone grieves differently, so you should follow their lead when offering support.
Whether you are experiencing grief or supporting someone who is grieving, strong emotions and heavy thoughts are likely to arise. Journaling can help calm some of these big feelings by offering a non-judgemental creative space. Kickstarting Wellness: A 26-Week Guided Self-Care Journal offers both structured prompts and free space to unpack and process during difficult times.
What I have learned: Supporting someone through grief is as individual as the grief experience itself. But, you can’t go wrong by telling the person you love them.
Tania Farran is an educator, mom, business owner, and an author. Her blogs tell about balancing all of these things in life! Laugh or cry with her and maybe learn a thing or two.