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How To Reach Out To Someone Who Is Grieving? Part 1

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A Billet Mom Shares In the Pain and Wants to Reach Out

The Humboldt Broncos tragedy was horrible and has left a community in a state of turmoil.  There are many left behind to grieve after this horrific accident.  As a Billet Mom I share in their pain and grief and want to:

  • reach out to each person involved. 
  • reach out to every person who has lost a loved one. 
  • reach out to those who are healing and recovering from this devastation.
  • reach out to those  who are dealing and coping with this tragedy. 
  • reach out to everyone that is helping these people through their grief. 

Worrying Is Part of Being A Billet

I know what it is like to be worried sick about the recovery of a Billet Son who ended up in Emergency.  I know what it is like having a Billet Son injured in a game and not being able to find out what is wrong with him or the extent of his injuries.  I know what it is  like having a Billet Son with a concussion and having to monitor him closely.  What I don’t know is how these people are really feeling and how they are dealing with this tragedy.  I cannot even imagine what is going through the minds of those involved.  How is anyone connected with this hockey team coping with their loss?  How are the survivors coping and how are the families coping?  How are they dealing with their grief?  How are those that lost someone dealing with death?

How do we help them?  What do we say?  How do we support them?  I don’t have the answers, I wish I did.  What I do have is suggestions to help with those who are grieving.  Through my own personal experience and doing some research I have compiled some ideas.

Don’t Avoid Them Because They Are Grieving, Reach Out

This is at the top of the list.  Everyone needs support when they have lost someone.  Don’t let fear hold you back from being there for them.  Staying away because you don’t know what to say isn’t the answer.  Don’t worry about saying the wrong thing just being around them is what is important.  Yes, there will be times they will just want to be alone and during that time you have to respect their wishes.  They will likely let you know if they are or aren’t feeling up to seeing you.  They still need to know someone is there for them.  

Offer Your Sympathy and Listen

Call them by name and let them know you share in their sympathy.  Don’t be afraid to say the name of their loved one.  They still need to hear it.  Don’t hide your own feelings in expressing how you feel this shows that you genuinely care about them.  Even asking them how they are doing isn’t incorrect.  Although it doesn’t seem right,  it gives them a chance to express how they are really feeling.   

Be a good listener and let them do the talking if they feel like it.  At this time it isn’t important for you to say a lot and silence can be golden.  Just being there and a few kind words is all they may need.  Offering the odd word of encouragement is very important though.  Give them lots of love and be a good friend. 

Don’t Make It about You 

Express your concern but don’t make it about you.  Like saying “Oh I know exactly how you feel because when I lost ___ I felt the same way.”  They will get no comfort in words like this.  No two situations are the same in grieving.  Everyone grieves differently so don’t put yourself in their shoes.  You really don’t know how they are feeling and what is going through their mind.     Just be genuine in whatever you say and make sure you make it all about their loss.

Choose Your Words Carefully

So what do you say?  It is very difficult to have the right words for someone who has suffered a loss.  In fact there are likely never the right words to say.  If you haven’t experienced grief you don’t know what it is like and if you have the circumstances and situation are different.  At a time like this it is never easy to know just what to say and to be honest nothing ever seems right.  However, remember they are deeply upset and sometimes just being there is better than words.  Don’t say things like “They are in a better place” because to the griever they should still be with them.  Don’t try to explain the loss they won’t want to hear it.  Think before you speak!  Blurting out something insensitive isn’t the thing to do. 

Be Sympathetic and Understanding

If they want to cry let them and be there to hand them a tissue.  All they may need is a gentle touch on the arm to let them know you are there for them.  If they need a hug give them one.  Let them express how they are feeling and listen.  If you feel like crying, cry with them.

Understand that they may have many mood swings.  There will be times when they may want to be alone and ask you to leave.  Do not be offended they will go through many different emotional ups and downs during this time.  Respect the way they grieve.  Don’t try to give them advice, they likely won’t take kindly to it.  They probably won’t hear it let alone do it.

Remember that everyone grieves in a different way so be respectful of that.  To the person who is grieving it can be a very personal matter.  We shouldn’t try to analyze why they are acting the way they are.  We also shouldn’t judge them in how they react.  Feeling the way they do they may say speak to us in a a sharp tone or say something they don’t really mean.  Just take a step back and remember they are grieving.  They could go through all kinds of different emotions.  We just need to support them in any way that we can regardless of what may be said.

Reach Out And Let Them Know You Love Them

This could easily have been at the top of the list.  Over and over tell them they are loved and comfort them.  Everyone needs to be loved and when you are grieving you need that reassurance even more. 

This is a very difficult time for them.  They need to know that you are there to help them through it.  Telling them that you love them during their grieving is very important.  Reach out they will appreciate it.

Read:  What Grieving Friends Wish You’d Say

Read:  Helping Someone Who’s Grieving

In Part 2 “Reaching Out To Someone Who Is Grieving” I covered: “Keeping In Touch”, “Sharing Memories”, “Help, Help, Help” and more.





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