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What To Do When Your Loved One Is Grieving

As a student, you will meet many new people during the years of your course. Some, you will become very close to -after all, you spend a lot of time together. Often, the friends you make during your student years become like family to you – so what do you do when that friend has just suffered a loss?

The Difficulty Of Approaching Someone Who Has Lost A Loved One

It’s very difficult to know how to approach a friend who has lost somebody close to them. Grief is a very individual process, and it can affect people in different ways. Even if you’ve experienced grief yourself, there’s no guarantee that your friend will feel the same way as you did. Grief can involve many different emotions from sadness and depression to anger and guilt.

It’s important to allow your friend to go through those feelings and process them in their own way. Simply being able to express themselves can be all they need sometimes to begin feeling better. Don’t try to force your opinions or experiences on them.

Allow them to do things in their own way and behave in the way that they need to behave. Eventually, they will learn how to deal with their emotional upheaval – your job is to facilitate that process.

Be Present And Open

People who are grieving also often have unique or unpredictable needs. This makes it even more difficult to approach them as you can never be sure how they’re going to react. Nevertheless, it’s important to continue to try to communicate and talk to your friend. The worst thing you can do at this time is to avoid them.

Even if you think that you’re doing the right thing by giving them some space to work through their emotions, this may be the last thing they need. Having someone to talk to, to vent to and to cry to is often very important for people who are suffering a loss. As a friend, you can play a valuable role in helping them to overcome their challenging feelings and begin to move on with their life.

Compassion Is Key

It’s often very difficult to think of what to say to somebody who is grieving, especially if you’ve never suffered a loss yourself. Many students have yet to experience the loss of someone close to them, so it can come as a shock and unwelcome surprise to have to deal with these challenging situations. However, death is a part of life, and loss is something we all have to learn to deal with in our time.

If your friend has lost someone close to them, it’s quite natural to struggle for words. They too are probably finding it hard to put into words the way they feel, or may feel as if they’re unable to express themselves fully for fear of their emotions running away with them. But even if you can’t think of anything appropriate to say, that’s absolutely fine. You don’t really need to say much at all. It’s more about being there and being a shoulder to cry on as and when needed.

That said, it’s important to acknowledge what has happened. People who are grieving do need their loss to be acknowledged by those around them. That doesn’t mean you need to deliver a lengthy speech about the loved one that has gone.

Talking candidly about the deceased person is one thing, but waxing lyrical about them is quite another. It’s a fine balance to strike – you need to avoid steering the subject away from the deceased should their name come up, but at the same time don’t force the subject and cause more upset.

Don’t Put On Any Pressure To Get Back To Normal

One common mistake that many people make is trying to pressure someone who is grieving to get over their grief and get back to normal. While this may seem to be a good thing, it’s actually quite harmful to try to persuade someone to move on when they aren’t ready. Grief is a process, and it isn’t a straightforward one.
One day, they may be feeling fine, the next they may feel depressed and in the depths of sadness once more. Everyone grieves differently and for different lengths of time. While someone may feel better and ready to resume normality within a week, others may take many months before they’re ready to get on with their everyday life.

As a friend, it’s important to be compassionate, empathetic and provide support for loss. Even if you have never been through the grieving process before, it’s important to consider how your friend must be feeling and to be respectful of their pain and sadness.

Although you may think that you’re doing the right thing by inviting them out for a night out at a club so they can forget their problems, this may not be the right course of action at all. In fact, it could do more harm than good to suggest it. You need to be led by your friend and follow where they lead.

It’s likely that they simply want someone to be present and willing to give them some companionship while they are coming to terms with their grief rather than someone who is dragging them along to be the life and soul of the party.

Offer Practical Help

One of the best things you can do for your grieving friend. is to offer them some practical help. Can you pick up some shopping for them? Do their washing? Clean their room? Make them some food? These little things can make all the difference and they’re sure to be appreciated in the long run. It’s also a good way of showing your friend that you care and that you’re there for support whenever you’re needed most.

The Empathy app is a great resource if you’re not sure how to help a friend through the grieving process. By offering step-by-step guidance, it can help you to navigate this challenging time and offer the support your loved one needs.