Here are 5 ways to support a grieving friend or family member during bereavement.

If a friend or family member is facing the death of a loved one, and you want to support them during this difficult time, here are 5 things you can consider doing to support them during their bereavement.

1. Show up

It’s a simple gesture. Attending the funeral or the wake tells the bereaved that you care enough to attend the last journey of their beloved family member. 

If there is a memorial or prayer service, do show up and participate in the ceremony too. For more information, check out resources from Singapore Hospice Council.

2. Be ready to listen

A lot of people who want to support a person going through loss are often at a loss at what to say to the latter. Check with them how they are feeling, whether they wish to talk about their loved one, and let them know you are there to offer a listening ear.

Use phrases such as “How are you feeling?”, or “Do you wish to talk?” to invite them to share their feelings if they are ready to do so. Allow them to talk as much or as little as they wish to and accept their feelings without judgement when they share.

If they are not ready to talk, don’t compel them to open up. Sometimes, having someone who cares show up and be present as they go through a difficult time is sufficient. 

3. Offer practical help 

There are many tasks to attend to during the wake. You can take the load off the bereaved by practical assistance such as helping to buy or make meals, running errands, offering them rides, or taking over their daily responsibilities, whether it is picking up their children, minding their little ones or helping with household chores.

You can also help to look through administrative forms or correspondences that must be attended to for deceased’s estate if the bereaved are not as proficient in English. 

4. Understand what grief looks like

Everyone feels loss differently. A grieving person may feel strong emotions about their loss, or they may avoid talking about the person who has died. Either way, someone offering support to the bereaved can reassure the latter that how they are feeling is normal.

5. Keep in touch with the bereaved person after the funeral is over

The journey to recovery may take anywhere from 18 to 24 months. Hurrying a person through the process may be detrimental to their healing. 

The grieving process doesn’t end after the funeral, and your bereaved friend or family member may continue to mourn. They may feel lonely after all the visitors are gone, so try to keep in touch with them after the event.

Reach out and involve them during special occasions and holiday events as much as they are willing to, but bear in mind that such days could be hard for them.

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