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Ways You Can Support a Grieving Loved One

It’s often difficult to know what to say when someone has lost a loved one—especially when the loss occurred suddenly at a crime scene near Orlando. In the immediate aftermath of an accident, suicide, or murder, some mourners feel a numbing sense of disbelief. When the reality of the situation becomes clear, your support can make all the difference.

Acknowledging the Loss

When comforting a grieving friend or relative, people often feel the need to tiptoe around the subject of death, especially in the aftermath of a suicide or murder. But for some mourners, the indirect acknowledgement of the loss by other people may help to validate their feelings. Acknowledgement can also signal to the mourner that you’re willing to listen if he or she wants to talk. You can acknowledge the loss by avoiding the use of euphemisms like “pass on” or “in a better place.” Instead, use more direct language and do use the decedent’s name. Say, “Now that John has died, I’m here for you. Let me know what I can do to help you get through this.”

Offering a Sympathetic Ear

In most situations, comforting someone relies heavily on what you say to that person. The opposite is usually true in times of loss. When someone has died, the responses of the mourners can be so varied that it’s best to let them take the lead in any conversation. Primarily, listen to the mourner, and recognize that there is nothing you can say that will “fix” the situation or make it any easier.

Providing a Comforting Touch

Mourners won’t always want to talk about the death. If your loved one isn’t ready yet to discuss it, there’s no need for you to try to fill in the gaps with conversation. Simply sitting with the mourner, holding his or her hand, and giving a hug is enough to let the mourner know that he or she hasn’t been left alone.

Extending a Helping Hand

Acute grief is a shocking experience. Mourners may feel confused and “foggy.” It’s difficult to remember things or think clearly, and performing the simplest of day-to-day tasks can seem challenging. Another way you can show loving support is by taking over these responsibilities temporarily. Go to the supermarket, prepare meals, offer childcare, or walk the dog for your grieving loved one.

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