The death of a loved one is the tip of the iceberg and there is a glacier of change occurring within a family, often invisible to others.
The death of a loved one can send shockwaves through a family’s health and wellbeing. It can be daunting and intimidating to engage with a bereaved person during this time, but it is important for them to know they are not alone and their community cares for them.
Whether you are looking to bereaved children, parents, siblings or spouses, each family member is grieving their loss. Each member may respond or grieve differently, but there are some common things you can do to be supportive.
Acknowledge their loss, listen unconditionally and without judgement. Avoid offering platitudes in an effort to “make them feel better.” Expect their grief to ebb and flow daily, if not for years to come. This is normal. Help bereaved loved ones find ways to remember and honor who they have lost. Respect everyone’s experiences and grief. Be cognizant of holidays or other important dates. Be sure to honor both the life and the absence of their loved one.
There are many ways to support a bereaved person. For more ideas, see our ten ways to support a family.