How to support someone living with bereavement

Losing someone close to us is something we will all experience. Our journey with bereavement can be overwhelming, exhausting and disorientating. Finding ways to cope and support is critical to the healing process.
 
To find out more about living with bereavement and how to support someone, please read this short article and RSVP to our free, virtual workshop here on Thursday 9th May 2024.


What is Grief?

Grief is the physical and emotional response to loss. This response is as individual as your fingerprint, it can vary greatly from person to person. It is a natural process that often involves challenging experiences. Grief can manifest in numerous forms and can be triggered by various life changes.
 

Types of Grief

There are many types of grief and different ways to grieve, we all grieve differently, even when we are grieving the same person.  It’s important to understand the different factors that influence and shape our grieving experience. 

Some contextual factors that determine our grief include the:

  • support network of family and friends
  • nature of the loss
  • significance of the loss
  • previous experiences of loss


Expectation Vs Reality

Societal expectation to get “back to normal”, sometimes forces people back to work or to school before they have had the chance to process the death of someone close. Nothing is ever “normal” again because life is forever altered.
 
The disharmony between expectation and reality can result in loneliness and social isolation for those living with bereavement. As a society we have a responsibility to understand the impact of bereavement, and to build supportive and compassionate communities, in the places we live, work, play, pray and learn.


How to Support Someone Who is Grieving

The more we understand the impact of grief on physical and emotional wellbeing we are better able to provide appropriate support.  

Supportive acts include just being there, listening, acknowledging feelings and offering to help. The type of support you offer will often depend on your relationship with the person, but most of us can provide emotional and practical support, here are some examples:


Emotional Support:


●  Check in on them:
Regular communication, such as a text, a call and a card to say you are thinking of them, can provide immense comfort.

●  Understand the grieving process:
Learn about the common emotions and experiences associated with grief.

●  Listen more, talk less:
Offer a listening ear without feeling the need to provide solutions.

●  Be comfortable with silence:
Sometimes, silent companionship is the most comforting presence.


Practical Support:


●  Help with errands:
Offer to run errands or help with household tasks.

●  Help with family responsibilities:
Offer to take the children to school or walk the dog.

●  Help with household chores:
Offer to make a dinner for the freezer or cut the grass.


Join Our Free Virtual Event

We invite you to help us create more compassionate communities that support people living with bereavement.

Please join our virtual workshop that is being launched during Dying Matters Week 2024, on Thursday 9th May 2024 at 11.00am hosted by Sharon Tosh

Register your place on the events page at www.compassionatecommunitiesni.com/events

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