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11 ways to be there for grieving friends

28 December 2019

11 ways to be there for grieving friends


Grief is like a heartbreak of love. Only with the bitter certainty that the person who is crying really never comes back. How do we deal with pain? How can we help friends who have lost an important caregiver from their lives? So today we are going to explain eleven ways of being there for mourners.


  1. Take your time and ask questions

As absurd as it sounds, the simplest and most honest questions are often no longer asked in the face of death. How are you doing right now? What are you feeling? And yes, it takes strength and, above all, time to endure the answers.

Mourners have to talk. Scenes from the hospital, last impressions: the stories will repeat themselves. But that's more than usual. Listening can be frightening because dying and everything related to it scares us. In contrast, people who mourn are often afraid of annoying those around them. Controls against it!


  1. Name the deceased

Not everyone suddenly died, but someone with a name. And you should also use it. Fully aware. Nobody will feel hurt because you keep using the name. But on the contrary. Using the name is the basis for memory and respect. We experience far too often that the "deceased," the "dead," or even the "corpse" is spoken of. Always talk about the name. The person is forever in the hearts of your friends and lives on in the memories - and that than the person, your friends, knew and loved. So don't be shy, the "deceased" is and remains an individual.


  1. Offers concrete help

Be specific and pragmatic. After a death, mourners have so much to do besides the actual grief. Organize the funeral, take care of the inheritance, realign your life and, of course, be sad. "Should I take care of the children this afternoon?" "Should I accompany you to the undertaker or the cemetery?" Or "I will cook something for us this evening!"


  1. Don't make comparisons

We all remember all too well how helpful it was to be told during the first heartache that you could get over it. And telling how long someone was terrible or how quickly someone was beautiful isn't helpful. Nobody does that with malicious intent, of course, but what mourners hear and feel between the lines always surprises us. So open your eyes and heart and let phrases like "With my grandmother back then ..." be best.


  1. Ensures an excellent feeling of normalcy and everyday life

When children are among the mourners, normal everyday life must be maintained. School, hobbies and friends. Mourning parents often fail to do this in the first phase. Offering specific help here is the best for the children and also for parents. It is similar to adults. Normal things can stay normal. Keep up the invitation to watch football or girls brunch. If someone doesn't come, they just don't come. But, out of the wrong caution, not being invited is worse. Those who mourn are not sick.


  1. Feel the situation

Grief often comes in waves. You have to get a feel for when conversations are appropriate. It can help to create situations, especially in the chaos of the first days. Sit quietly together, have tea and rest. Respond to your friends. You know each other. Speak, be silent, hug or just not be alone? Trust in your gut feeling. It may take longer than usual to put your thoughts in order or find words. You will get a feel for how you can best behave.


  1. Are you yourself and are there

You know each other and what you need in stressful situations. Of course, this is an extraordinary one - and above all unknown. Therefore, trust in what has done you right before the loss. It is as important as it is difficult not to pretend. But once again, your friends have something they can rely on. Be there as yourself So you give your counterpart the feeling of not being left alone. An honest "everything is shit" sometimes fits more than a "my condolences."


  1. Crying is allowed

Please never say phrases like "It will be all right," "Soon it will be better," "Mourning will be less." If someone wants to cry, he can do it. No matter when, where and how long. With extreme losses, the environment is often considered. For example, we often observe that the loss of parents is often underestimated. From friends from partners, but also the social environment.


  1. Laughter is allowed

It cannot be said often enough: mourners can also laugh. Thanks to a funny anecdote that comes to mind about the person they lost or simply because one of you was fluffy. We see again and again that some look puzzled because the closest mourners suddenly have a moment of humor. It is important not to forbid the little jokes of everyday life.


  1. Accept individual grief

Every death is bad and incomprehensible, and you never know beforehand how to react to it. And that's why no grief is like any other. Some of your friends will withdraw and don't want to talk. Others take a step forward and seek exchange. Give your friends time and don't force them into a mourning schedule.


  1. Be sure that you are doing well yourself

On airplanes, it is said that the breathing masks should be put on first. The same applies to deal with mourners. We as friends and acquaintances, also have to take care of ourselves. Because I can only help if I am fine myself.

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