Going through the grieving process is a very dark and difficult time for a person. However, it is also hard for the loved ones of this individual. Family members and friends often struggle to find the best ways to be supportive. Plus, the holiday season and COVID-19 can make this process that much more challenging.
If you are the loved one of a grieving individual, understanding the stages in this process is an important place to start. There are also many genuine things you can do to show your love and help.
The stages of grief
Did you know there are five stages in the grieving process? Becoming familiar with them and what they entail will help you support your loved one has they work through their grief.
Denial is the first stage. This may involve your loved one becoming numb to their feelings. They might even be refusing to accept their new reality.
After this comes anger. In this phase, your loved one might lash out at you and others. They may question everything that has happened. While this stage is hard, remember that underneath their anger is a lot of hurt.
Bargaining is typically the third stage. Your loved one will ask questions like “What if” and “If only…” around the circumstances of the person’s death.
Depression is a stage as well. While it is hard to see your loved one this way, just remember it is part of the healing process.
And finally, acceptance eventually will come. This is the final stage. However, these stages go in different orders for each person. And some last longer than others.
The best thing you can do as a family member or friend is to be there for them during each stage.
Three ways to help your grieving loved one
Reach out to them. Most grieving people find it hard to take initiative and reach out to others. You can help by doing this for them. Stay connected with them via video chat, text messages, emails and phone calls. Make sure you are still checking in on them in the months following their loss, when fewer people are doing so.
Find ways to help. Come up with specific tasks you can assist with. Volunteer to drop off pre-made dinners so they don’t have to worry about cooking for a few days. See if there is any house or yard work they need assistance with, while practicing social distancing of course. If they are handling the estate of the person who passed, see if you can help with any questions they have about it.
Don’t be afraid to say the name. One fear most grieving people have is that their loved one will be forgotten by others. Therefore, don’t be afraid to mention the deceased. Even if saying the name of the person that passed causes your loved one to cry, it won’t make them any sadder. And it is much more personal to express your feelings this way as opposed to the standard “I’m sorry for your loss.”