Helping Others in a Time of Grief

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November 19, 2019
Edward Smith

Comforting Someone Who Has Lost a Loved One

Grief is not a comfortable subject for many people. It follows that finding the correct way to help a friend or family member who lost someone is not always easy. Most people try to find the right words to say that will provide comfort during the grueling days after the person’s demise. Others wonder what they can do to help. Let’s take a look at what should and shouldn’t be said and the most welcome types of support. 

Basics of Grief

People grieve differently. Some are consumed by emotions while others are stoic, and there are many other responses in between. Perhaps, the one thing all people share is the devastation and aloneness losing someone they love brings. Focusing on that as a baseline is probably best. 

You Are Not the Center of Attention

Forget yourself when visiting a friend whose loved one died or attending funeral services. While it is meant as a way of communicating that you are empathic to the person’s situation, it has the potential of appearing self-serving. Basically, leave yourself out of it. Focus on their pain or on the person who died.

Talk About the Bereaved

This is often the right choice. Most people who lost someone want to hear about the deceased. Telling a story about the person that highlights their positive traits is usually welcome. You’d be surprised how this helps the mourning family to learn something new about their loved one. One word of caution: Never talk about anything that would be distasteful to or disturbing for the family. 

Don’t Try to Make the Situation Positive

Sometimes, well-meaning people try to be helpful by saying that there is a positive to be found out of the person’s passing. For instance, if the person suffered before dying, they might say at least that hardship is over. When people are grieving, the last thing they want to hear is that the person’s death served a useful purpose. If the bereaved family member says it, it’s different. 

Let the Family Know You Are There for Them

In the middle of losing someone, a family member’s life is torn apart. Normal things often go by the wayside, such as shopping or fixing meals. This is where a friend or another family member can help. First, it is essential to realize that asking the bereaved to call if they need something, while well-meaning, is putting one more thing on the list for them to do. Instead, it is useful to be specific in your offer, such as saying, “Tell me what you need from the store, and I can pick it up for you.” This sends out the message that it is something you are determined to do and gives the person a simple request. Another way to do this is to ask if they like a particular food and make it for them. Be careful with this since not everyone wants or can eat certain things. If the person has small children, you can offer to take them to a movie or to your house for a few hours. 

Saying the Right Thing

This does not come with an instruction booklet and needs to be tailored to a particular situation. Basically, the grieving family members need to know that you feel sorry that someone dear to them has died, and you are there for them. It is essential to let them know you are empathetic to their grief and sincerely feel sorry as they pass through this difficult time. Choose the words you want to use ahead of time to be safe. Words are like arrows sometimes. Once they leave your mouth, you can’t take them back, and they can harm the other person. So, keep it simple with expressions such as “I’m sorry you are going through this, and I wish I could say something that would help.” Follow this with “I am here for you whenever you need me.” If the person is a co-worker or your boss, it might be helpful to let them know that you are sorry for their loss. 

Watch YouTube Video: Comforting Those Who Have Lost Loved Ones. In the video below, pastor Greg Laurie delivers a message on comforting someone who has lost a loved one in a tragic situation.

How a Sacramento Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help

Sometimes, a family member dies because another person was negligent. This makes the loss even harder to cope with and can cause feelings of anger and despair. At our firm, we empathize with the grief you feel and would like to help by taking the negligent person to justice. We do this by sending investigators to the accident site to gather evidence against the at-fault party. For instance, if a car accident occurred, we look for evidence, interview witnesses, and obtain video footage of the crash from traffic surveillance cameras and nearby businesses. Our investigators also review police reports for inaccuracies. Once this phase is completed, the investigative team releases the data to our lawyers, who build a strong case against the at-fault party.

Sacramento Wrongful Death Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento wrongful death lawyer. If you’ve lost a loved one, you understand the devastation it brings. So do I. The grief is compounded if the loss was caused by someone’s negligence. This is where I can help the person or party with a wrongful death lawsuit. Call me at (916) 921-6400 or at (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice. You can also reach me online if that is more convenient.

I have helped many others in Northern California obtain the compensation they deserve in a variety of traumatic injuries, car accidents, and wrongful death claims.

I am a member of the Million Dollar Advocates and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

You can learn more about my practice by going to the following pages:

Photo Attribution: Pixabay

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