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How to Support a Family Member during Bereavement

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult struggles a person could ever experience. Depending on the individual, grief comes in different forms — it can be intense, calm, and sometimes even chaotic. However, regardless of how a person grieves, family members should be there for each other to get through the trying times. 

If you are currently mourning the loss of a loved one and want to help the surviving family members cope with distress, here is some advice from Forest Lake, one of the most reliable memorial parks in the Philippines.

Be present

Your presence is important. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing something elaborate such as planning the burial or assisting the guests. As long as you’re there, you are showing your support.

But if given the chance or allowed by the bereaved, adhere to their needs. Maybe they need to run errands that they can’t do in their current physical and emotional state such as cooking meals or taking care of the children. These acts have a very profound effect of comfort to those who have survived their loved one.

Be careful with what you say

Talking to someone who has just suffered the loss of a loved one is like walking through a minefield —just a wrong word or gesture can create a tense atmosphere. For this matter, presence of mind is what you need. Avoid trying to say things like:

  • Don’t cry
  • They are in a better place now
  • You should move on
  • You still have us
  • It’s not the end of the world

One thing to keep in mind is that you can’t say anything that will minimize the hurt the bereaved are already feeling so it’s wise to keep your words in minimum and offer comfort in the form of hugs or by being a shoulder to cry on instead. Actions are truly louder than words in these kinds of situations.

Choose Words of Comfort

Be careful and compassionate when speaking to a person who has just suffered from a loss in order to avoid offending them or hurting them further. Here are examples of safe things to say when comforting a mourner:

  • I’m sorry for your loss.
  • I’m here for you.
  • You will always be in my prayers and thoughts.
  • I’ll help you in any way I can.
  • He/she brought so much joy in our lives. I will miss him/her.
  • Can I hug you?

Keep in mind that aside from words, comfort in the form of hugs or by being a shoulder to cry on can also help.

Listen more

Be approachable. Grievers will feel if you’re growing tired of their constant lament so do your best to listen with keen interest. Even if you’re not around, your family member should be able to talk to you anytime so keep your communication lines open.

Also, don’t force someone to open up. If a situation comes up where the person would rather sit in silence, do the same and wait. Let them feel that you are willing to wait whenever they are ready to talk and that whatever they are feeling is valid.

Recollect special memories

Looking back at the life the departed had lived is essential in helping a person heal. You can view photos, watch videos, and share funny stories concerning the departed. However, be sensitive. Sometimes these memories can trigger extreme emotions for the bereaved.

Keep your distance if needed

Grief makes people long for isolation and they have the right to act upon that feeling. Isolation helps a person reflect and come into terms of their loved one’s death.

Still, don’t forget to check on them every now and then to assure them that you’re not forgetting them or the deceased. Time heals and letting a person grieve solitarily on their own time is for the best.

Let yourself grieve too

If your family is grieving, there is a big possibility that you are too. It’s understandable that you want to stay strong for your loved ones but keeping all your emotions at bay can be dangerous to your mental state.

Releasing what you feel will help you connect better with your grieving family. Weep with them, talk about your loved one, allow yourselves to celebrate their life, and go on a journey of healing together. If there’s one thing you should know about grieving, it’s that you can’t do it completely alone. 

Forest Lake recommends grief counselling as a support system to help through the grieving process. Learn how you can help your family manage with tips from Forest Lake. In over 25 locations, it has the most number of memorial parks nationwide and is one of the most trusted memorial parks in the Philippines. If you or anyone you know is interested to learn more, please contact us at 09777234034 and we can refer you to a grief counsellor.

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