Our cremations services include providing grief support and resources to bereaved families. However, it is often friends, extended family, and neighbors who can provide the depth of support that grieving families need after they lose a loved one.
Emotional support is one area where friends, extended family, and neighbors can help a family that’s grieving. Emotional support doesn’t mean fixing the grief: no one can fix grief, because grief, in one form or another, stays with you after the loss of a loved one.
What emotional support does mean is being there and being available to just listen. Grieving people go through an array of tough feelings – sadness, anger, regrets, and guilt – as well as good feelings when they remember happy times with their loved one. Sometimes all these feelings coexist and it can be unsettling.
But this is how grief works. Providing emotional support means compassionate listening, no matter what feelings are being expressed and whether you agree with them or not. When people are grieving, they will say some outrageous things, because that’s how we humans work to process losing someone we love.
By simply listening, without judgment and without contradicting things we don’t believe or know aren’t necessarily the way the person who is grieving sees them, we actively participate in the healing of grief.
We should never, ever criticize or condemn the way a person grieves. Usually the people who do this – and there are always some people who do – have never experienced the loss of someone who was extremely close to them. So, they don’t understand how deep the pain of grief can go. They’re not intentionally being mean; instead, they simply don’t know because they haven’t been there yet.
Another way to provide emotional support is to just sit or walk with the grieving person in silence. Everyone grieves differently. Some people talk to process their grief, while other people do their processing of grief internally and say little or nothing.
Make sure the grieving person knows that you are available to sit with them, to listen, or not, to them, to be there anytime they need emotional support.
Physical support for grief is often easier because it involves doing something. Grieving people have a lot to do in the real world after loved ones die. They have the whole transitioning process of wrapping up their loved ones’ lives, which takes a lot of time and a lot of energy. That means there’s little time and energy for day-to-day living.
People have to eat, whether they are grieving or not. If there’s no food at home, because no one has had time to go to the grocery store and to cook, then grieving people will often grab fast food or snack food on the run, and turn to sugary pick-me-ups like candy and pastries to try to stay fueled. This can actually lead to sickness, because they’re not eating well and they’re not staying adequately hydrated.
Consider getting a group of people together to provide meals to the grieving family for a few weeks after they’ve lost a loved one. Set up a box and a cooler outside the family’s door, and rotate bringing one hot meal a day, as well as healthy breakfast and lunch items, and drinks like water and tea. By having the box and cooler outside, the family doesn’t have to be home or answer the door, if they are home, when food is delivered.
For more grief resources as part of our cremations services, depend on our compassionate and experienced team at Hopler & Eschbach Funeral Home to help you. You can visit our funeral home at 483 Chenango St., Binghamton, NY 13901, or you can call us today at (607) 722-4023.