How to Comfort Someone Who Has Lost a Loved One

The loss of a loved one can leave partners, friends, and family devastated. To ease the burden, offer whatever solace you can.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Allow them to grieve Allow the person to grieve in their own way. Don't judge their behavior, which may be erratic at first. Unpredictable moods are normal.
  • TIP: If you tend to be a caretaker, now is the time to dial it back. You can't fix this.
  • Step 2: Show empathy Comfort the grieving person with genuine sympathy for their loss without assuming to know how they feel. Avoid giving advice.
  • Step 3: Change the environment Suggest a walk or a drive to remove them from their environment for a short time. They will need their strength in the coming days, so a little relief might be appreciated.
  • Step 4: Listen and absorb Listen and absorb any need they may have to dwell on the past or obsess about regrets regarding the loved one. Right now they need to vent and your unconditional regard is crucial.
  • Step 5: Take on tasks Offer to take over everyday tasks, like grocery shopping, child care, phone calls, and final arrangements if the grieving person was a family member or very close to the deceased. Running interference and handling phone calls will save their energy and will allow them time to think or rest.
  • Step 6: Support them with silence Support them with silence and hold their hand or hug them. Don't push them to express emotion, even if their brave smile seems to suggest that something is being repressed.
  • TIP: It will take time to get through the loss. Don't stop checking on them and offering your shoulder -- even months later.
  • Step 7: Get clinical help Suggest clinical help if the person seems unable to come out of it, especially if they demonstrate difficulty functioning, thinking, acting, or speaking, or they exhibit excessive bitterness, substance abuse, or social withdrawal.
  • FACT: According to the Federal Trade Commission, the average cost of a funeral in America exceeded $10,000 in 2010.

You Will Need

  • Sensitivity
  • Sympathy
  • Activities
  • Listening skills
  • Helpfulness
  • Professional help

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