Ten tips for supporting someone who is grieving:
• Offer practical support such as meals, shopping, gardening, errands, lifts, etc. especially in the early days.
• Accept that everyone grieves differently. Grief is a normal and natural response to loss but everyone grieves differently.
• Don't judge. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Especially don't say "you should..." or "you shouldn't..."
• Accept a wide variety of emotions such as sadness, anger, confusion, fear, guilt, relief, etc. Such varied emotions are a natural response to the death of a loved one.
• Listen well. Bereaved people often need to talk about their grief and sometimes it's okay to just sit in silence.
• Use the name of the lost loved one. Allow the bereaved person to talk of their loved one and to use their name.
• Avoid platitudes such as "At least you have other children", "it was meant to be", 'It's God's will', "Maybe God wanted another angel", etc. Well-meant statements like these are unhelpful and often hurtful.
• Don't say "I understand" or "I know how you feel". Individual grief is so complex that no-one can really understand how an individual feels.
• You can't fix it. No one can take away the pain and sadness but knowing that people care is comforting and healing.
• Don't assume. People who are grieving aren't necessarily showing it.
[Source: The Compassionate Friends Victoria]