By Victor Montour
Losing a loved one weather it’s your mother, father, brother, sister; aunt, uncle or a friend can have a huge impact on the loved ones left behind. It goes without saying the family of the person who has died feels the loss the most. Knowing this shouldn’t over shadow the loss felt by friends of the person who has died. A close friend in most cases is an extension of the family.
If one of your friends has died, it might be tough for you to know how to help or what to say to their family. These feelings are normal and it’s O.K. to feel unsure about how to help. Below are ideas about how you might be able to help and support your friend’s family.
Let your friend’s family know you care. Friends and family are a great support for the people who are experiencing the loss. Let them know that you care. If you’re planning to talk face-to-face, it’s a good idea to call first and let the person know you would like to come over. If you’re uncomfortable dealing with emotional people then you could try showing you’re support over the phone, or through a card, letter or flowers. The smallest gesture speaks volumes.
Know what to say. Knowing what to say or what not to say can be hard. First and for most It’s okay to be honest and let your friends family know that you don’t know what to say. You can start by asking if there’s anything you can do to help. Your friends family might appreciate knowing that you’re around to talk, or if he or she just wants someone to hang out with. It’s okay to just be silent, don’t feel like you have to talk the whole time you’re visiting. Allow yourself to be present and in the moment. Sometimes just sitting with someone says more than words. The truth is, there’s nothing we can really say or do to ease the pain of losing a friend or someone we love.
Stay in touch. Keeping in contact can be a way to let your friend’s family know that you’re supportive. If you’re planning to hang out with other people, ask them to come along. Remember that your grieving friends and families are probably going to cope better in quieter situations, like going to the movies or hanging out at someone’s house, rather than huge parties.
Be understanding. Experiencing a loss can cause people to feel lots of different emotions, including anger, sadness and denial. Try to be understanding of your friend’s families reactions.
Listen. Your friend’s family might want to talk about how they are feeling, or about the person who has died. This is often a sign a person is managing grief. Give your friends family the chance to talk. Try to be patient if you’ve heard the stories before; it’s not uncommon for people who are grieving to want to go over the same stories a number of times. Let your friend’s family know that you can handle listening to the ugly emotions that go along with grieving. Allow them to express their anger, their guilt, and their fury over this unfair death.
It’s okay if you and your friend’s family cry. It might be hard to see someone you care about upset or crying. It’s okay for your friend’s family to cry, and for you to cry as well. This is often a good way to express sadness, and it might help both of you feel better.
Take Care of yourself It can be exhausting for you to share a loss with your friend’s family. Taking time out for yourself is important. Do something special for yourself, and make sure you can talk to someone about how you’re feeling.
Time. Remember that there’s no timetable on grief – grief can last months or years, and no one person can predict how a person is supposed to be grieving.
Remember. Talk about the friend or loved one and don’t act uncomfortable. Understand that talking about your deceased friend or loved one helps everyone remember them. Share your stories of the deceased – remember them and celebrate them with the bereaved. Talk about the good times with your friend. Help remind them of how meaningful their friend’s life was to everyone. Share your stories and allow your friends and family to share theirs.
Professional Help. If you a friend or a family member of the deceased discusses suicide, dying, or taking their own life, THIS IS A SERIOUS EMERGENCY. Take that individual to the nearest emergency room or Call 911. Depression from the loss of a loved one is very common and a mental health professional should be sought out for continued treatment.
If you would like more information about Front Range Hospice please call 303-957-3101 or 970-776-8080 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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