Providing Support for the Bereaved
There are many things you can do to help a bereaved person. These include:
Sending cards or flowers
Providing child care
Mowing the lawn
Contributing to a cause that is meaningful to the family
You may also consider the following when providing for the bereaved:
Be available. Sometimes, grieving people don't want to talk or listen, nor do they want you to talk or listen. They simply want you to be there for them. Silence is OK if that is what the bereaved person wants at the moment.
Allow the grieving person the full range of his or her emotions. This includes anger and bitterness, which may be sometimes expressed against the healthcare providers, God, or even the loved one who has died.
Be patient and understanding, but not patronizing. Don't claim to know how the other person is feeling. Don't force the person to talk or share feelings if he or she does not want to.
Don't be concerned about mentioning the deceased person's name or sharing a fond memory of the person while in the company of the bereaved. They, too, are thinking about the deceased person. It is acceptable and natural to bring the name into conversation.
Remember that grieving takes time and is a natural human process. No matter how much you want to "stop the hurt," bereaved people must go through the grieving process. Allow them to grieve and care for them as they move through the process.