There is a reason why people say that life can be like a roller coaster, as everyone goes through difficult times at some point or another. Regardless of how "together" you seem to have things, or how much under control your emotions are, there will be a time when you'll need that extra support from a trusted friend or loved one to get you through hard times. Perhaps you'll be the one needing to know how to comfort someone or how to help them through a rough patch.
There are many ways in which you can offer comfort and support to a loved one in need that won't require you to know how to console someone like an expertly trained counselor. Sometimes your loved ones reach out to you because they're not ready to seek the help of a professional. They come to you asking you to lend them an ear and offer some loving words of support and advice. The following ways can provide some inspiration to reassure someone in need.
1. Be a Friend
When someone you know and love is suffering through grief after losing a loved one, one of the most reassuring things you can do for them is to be there for them.
Being present is sometimes all you need to do to support your loved one. Instead of just telling them that you are there for them in their time of need, show them that you are by being a good friend to them.
You can show them acts of friendship by showing up with some fresh flowers and stopping by for some morning coffee, or calling ahead and arranging to pick them up for lunch. These little acts of kindness add up big shows of support. Your friend or loved one may not know how to ask for help, or may not want to inconvenience you by asking for these simple things.
A trusted friend's presence brings so much value to those who are grieving.
2. Lend an Ear
One of the ways for you to learn about what your loved one is going through is to sit and listen to them. During their time of mourning, your loved one may feel overwhelmed with their sense of grief and sorrow.
They may be thinking that everyone has already moved on with their own lives. And, after a funeral or memorial service, they may be feeling lonely and forgotten about.
It isn't uncommon for them to feel this way once they’ve seen everyone going back to living their own lives. They go from having many visitors, cards, flowers, and attention, to having almost no interaction with any of them in a matter of days.
It's understandable for them to begin to feel left out, especially when most people tend to avoid those who've recently lost a loved one. This happens because most people don't know what to say to others who are grieving.
With careful nudging, your loved one may open up and talk to you about what they've been feeling and experiencing. Now is a good time to sit with them over a shared cup of coffee, and just listen to them without worrying about what you're going to say.
3. Offer Words of Encouragement
When you're ready to move on from the listening stage, there are many things that you can say to someone who is suffering through hard times to try and make them feel better. You can choose any of your go-to sympathetic condolence phrases, or you can take the time to listen to them, and offer appropriate words of encouragement to help them get through this rough patch.
Whatever you decide to do here, trust yourself to be a good friend and to instinctively know that whatever you say will offer encouragement to them.
When you encourage someone with words, you show them that you love and support them. If you have gone through a similar experience, share the things that helped you overcome your grief.
Being there for your loved one when they need you most can be as simple as reminding them that they're strong and can get through this. And, although things seem insurmountable at the moment, everything in life comes to pass with time. Your carefully chosen words of encouragement can help heal even the most broken of hearts.
4. Support Them Through Their Grief
When you support someone who is grieving, it can take on many different meanings. One other way of supporting your loved one through this rough time is to be physically there for them helping where needed.
You can support them by doing some chores around the house that they might've been ignoring. Simple things like picking up around the house, doing the dishes and the laundry can be a tremendous help to someone who may not be thinking of keeping up with the housework right now.
Other ways to help is to hire a neighbor's teenager to mow the lawn and ensure that the trash cans are put out by the curb and brought back in on trash days. Most people who are suffering tend to ignore these basic household chores. Making arrangements to take care of these things will likely be appreciated and remembered for a long time to come.
Helping your loved one to maintain some order around the house will alleviate some of their stress. They may be more inclined to invite guests over and eventually feel some sense of normalcy in their day-to-day life.
5. Celebrate Together
Taking time out of your schedule to help your loved one plan a memorial service on the death anniversary of their loved one shows them that you haven't forgotten them. You can commemorate the anniversary by planning and hosting a simple dinner at your home, or by inviting close friends and relatives to celebrate at a favorite restaurant.
The gathering doesn't have to be formal or over the top. Try to match the occasion with the departed loved one's social standing or involve the family in helping you plan something appropriate and within your budget.
Another way in which you can celebrate together is by joining the family for a special mass or prayer in their loved one's honor. You can help with making the arrangements, choosing scripture, and inviting honored guests to join you in your celebration. You can always follow with a simple potluck brunch afterward. There's nothing wrong with asking others to help with planning, paying for, or hosting the celebration.
6. Spend a Day Together
If you are hoping for some quieter quality time together, you can arrange to take your loved one on an outing to a local botanical garden, art museum, or a stroll through a memorial park or cemetery.
You may consider making a day of it and pacing your activities throughout the day to include a light lunch and visit to the internment site. Together you can talk about their loved one who has died, how they are coping with their loss, and how you can be of service to them during their time of need.
Special one on one time is precious to most people who are grieving, especially when they may be feeling isolated from the rest of the world. Take care to avoid springing any of this on them. Make the proper arrangements ahead of time and ask for a day and time that works best for them.
7. Pray Together
If prayer gives comfort to your loved one as they grieve their loss, offer to come over for an evening of prayerful remembrance. Use this time together to talk about what they have been going through and how they have been coping.
Try incorporating scripture into your words of encouragement and look for specific prayers for those that are mourning. You may consider writing down a list before meeting so that you can reference them where appropriate, and also bringing some spiritual books on grief to leave behind.
Although prayer should be respected and taken seriously, this doesn't have to be a serious and somber occasion. Look for humor where least expected, and try gathering examples of some fun memories you shared with their loved one when they were still alive. Encourage them to share their prayers, thoughts, and memories of special times.
8. Join a Grief Support Group
Offering reassurance to someone who is grieving may not always be enough to help them overcome their sorrow. If you find that your loved one needs a little extra help, consider encouraging them to join a support group. Being around others who share similar experiences may help your loved one go through this tough time.
If they are resistant to go at it alone, consider joining them for the first one or two meetings to help them get acquainted with the group before turning them loose. You can also suggest a few online grief support groups to get the ball rolling.
Most groups will encourage you to join if you are also sharing in this grief, however, it'll most likely be more productive for your loved one if you allowed them to go through this part of their journey on their own. This may allow them to feel more open to expressing their true feelings without feeling as if they are being judged by what they say.
Reassuring Someone in Their Time of Need
When a loved one is grieving, they often look to you for love, support, and encouragement even when they can't express in words that they are reaching out to you for this purpose. Your role during this time is to offer that support to help them get through this rough patch.
Offering compassionate words and deeds will help your loved one get through one of the toughest moments of their life.