The times in our loves when we must grieve can be the most difficult. How do we best help a loved one in our lives who has to go through the grieving process?
But why Grieve?
No one wants to have to grieve, but when we’re faced with personal loss, that of a loved one or someone close to us, it’s a healthy process that we each go through.
If the grieving process isn’t actualized, the individual is at higher risk for depression and other mental health issues.
Grief is personal
There is no right or wrong way to go through the grieving process. We’re all individuals and celebrate and grieve differently. When we think of grieving, we think of the loss of a loved one, however, grief can arise from the loss of a job, a partner or a relationship, as well as other things.
“Normal” grieving is not defined as such, but the way we all grieve is different. According to WebMD, the stages of grief are:
- Denial: When you first learn of a loss, it’s normal to think, “This isn’t happening.” You may feel shocked or numb. This is a temporary way to deal with the rush of overwhelming emotion. It’s a defense mechanism.
- Anger: As reality sets in, you’re faced with the pain of your loss. You may feel frustrated and helpless. These feelings later turn into anger. You might direct it toward other people, a higher power, or life in general. To be angry with a loved one who died and left you alone is natural, too.
- Bargaining: During this stage, you dwell on what you could’ve done to prevent the loss. Common thoughts are “If only…” and “What if…” You may also try to strike a deal with a higher power.
- Depression: Sadness sets in as you begin to understand the loss and its effect on your life. Signs of depression include crying, sleep issues, and a decreased appetite. You may feel overwhelmed, regretful, and lonely.
- Acceptance: In this final stage of grief, you accept the reality of your loss. It can’t be changed. Although you still feel sad, you’re able to start moving forward with your life.
How to help someone who is grieving
Be there. Just being present for your loved one makes a huge difference.
Don’t assume they have to grieve a certain way. However they feel, whether sad, angry or lost is acceptable.
Listen. Just letting your loved one tell you about the person they lost or their memories is a wonderful way to let them work through their grief.
Ask them how you can help support them. Since everyone is different, you can’t just assume they would like you to do one thing or another.
Consider homecare if a companion or extra care is needed. If their loss is of a spouse or life partner, they may need additional care at home.
While loss is unavoidable and moving through grief is difficult, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Just being there for someone who needs to grieve does more than you can even imagine.
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Do you have questions about how you can better support your loved one while they age in place in South Florida or regarding homecare in general? Please contact CareGivers of America here: Contact or call us toll free: 800-342-4197
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