Helping Someone Else with Their Loss


Wanting to help someone else with their loss and grief is common.  Seeing or knowing someone you care about in emotional pain is difficult.  Watching the prolonged effects of grief on an individual may magnify the wanting to help.  What can you do?

Be aware of the fact grief is a personal journey with no right or wrong way to grieve.  The grieving person’s past loss history and their unique coping skills create the foundation for future healing.

Telling someone to “get over it” or saying “don’t you think it has been long enough” may be your opinion, but you do not know the full life story of this grieving person.

Grief for some people is a journey from despair to hope.  Along the way there are ups and downs; smiles and tears.  Indecisiveness, changing moods and emotions are all part of the grieving territory.  What can you do?

Be there for the grieving person.  “Silence is golden” and often your company is all that is needed.  Listening to the story of loss as many times as it is told, even when you know it by heart, is a gift for some grieving individuals.

Honour the alone time a griever needs, but don’t give up on them.  Let the individual know you understand the need to be alone and also realise that fresh air, a walk, going for a drive or something to get them out and about is important.

There are active and passive grievers; one may need to be doing activities to vent the strong emotions while others may want to internalize and analyse their feelings in less active ways.

Stay connected with a phone call, leave a message; text, email, etc. knowing the grieving person may not want to “BE A BOTHER” to anyone.  Actively letting the individual know you care is important…do not give up on them when the journey seems too long.

I have clients that state they gradually shut down, because they feel others do not want to hear of there concerns and difficulties; their deep despair and sadness.  These individuals react strongly to what they see and feel from others whom they thought were their friends. 

Grieving individuals have commented on how they quickly find out who their real friends are.

Seek help if you feel there are compounded and complicated issues affecting the grieving individual and their healing process.

All my best

Barbara Gillett Saunders