Five tips to help someone recently bereaved
In the very early stages of grief, particularly that strange time between the death and the funeral, the bereaved can be in a state of shock – here’s some tips for being there for them. The following are compiled from what some clients have said have been helpful to them.
- Offer company but remember they may well want to be alone at this time. Do respect their wishes and remember they may not wish to talk by phone either. Emails/texts let them choose whether to take up offers of help – do tell them you do not expect a reply unless they would like your help.
- They may forget to eat or be so caught up in arrangements that they simply don’t have time. Bring them food – a casserole, a cake, whatever. If they don’t want to see anyone, let them know you will leave it outside for them.
- Do they have animals? Offer to take their dog out.
- Can you help let people know about the funeral arrangements – share the information? Don’t assume they will have done that – shock can be very numbing. Also, it can be exhausting for them, having to repeat the same information over and over, as well as having to deal with the response of others. You are one step back and may be able to fulfil this role.
- Listen, listen and listen. Whatever you do, please don’t tell them you know how they feel – you don’t.
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About Una Cavanagh
Una Cavanagh is a counsellor in private practice in North Wiltshire. She has volunteered as a hospice bereavement counsellor.