How to Love Someone Who is Grieving

This was written by Anonymous K4LC Member

Has someone close to you ever experienced the loss of a loved one? It’s one of those situations where you really don’t know what to say or do. There is no right reaction. Whether unexpected or anticipated, the loss changes their life in a way no one can ever fully prepare for.

Our friend, Quentin, is dealing with the loss of 2 very close family members. I have always admired how much he uses his pain to minister to others. Even now, in the past 2 months, he has been very transparent in sharing his struggle… first losing his grandmother (who raised him) and now losing his great-grandmother. Quentin has personally shared with me how much every single gesture of condolence means to him. Also, in a community as large as K4LC, he knows there are others who are currently being impacted by the loss of a loved one.            

I know how it is to want to offer comfort and support to people during their difficult time… and to be the one who needs support. Essentially, it all boils downs to understanding how to love someone who is grieving. What can we do to show them love during this difficult time?  How to Love Someone Who is Grieving

Here are a few things I have learned about loving someone who is grieving:

1. Offer condolences – Do not ever minimize how far your words, cards, emails, and gestures of condolence can go. It means something for you to take the time out of your day to extend heartfelt compassion and sympathy to those who are hurting the most.

2. Don’t rush them – Understand the grieving process is not an overnight thing. Losing a loved one is not like watching a television show and then, once it goes off (or after the funeral), everyone just goes on with life as if nothing ever happened. It changes everything. Exercise love by walking alongside the person and allowing them to take their time and go through the stages of grief.

3. Make their life easier – When you love someone, you do whatever you can to make their life easier. This is even truer during periods of grief. You should quietly look for ways to remove anything that might even, possibly, be a burden or barrier in their life. The goal is to do things that will not require in-depth discussions or a lot of approval from that person, just do it. This is why you often see people cooking meals, cutting the grass, putting gas in the car, ironing clothes, walking the pets, etc… All of these things help remove stress from the person who is grieving.

4. Understand their perspective – When a significant person in someone’s life passes away, it literally can change how the world looks through their eyes; it can change their perspective. So, any circumstance in life is now compared to the weight of losing their significant loved one. This is important to understand when talking to anyone who is grieving (or even someone who has passed the grieving stage or had significant loss or pain in the past). People who have suffered tremendous hurt, for instance, may not tend to dwell on insignificant details or things that really aren’t that important. They may not want to argue or disagree… instead, preferring to focus on things that have more to do with substance, helping people, valuing others, and love.

5. Be present (as needed) – Whether you are local or long-distance, do what you need to do in order to be present. This may mean traveling, in order to be near your loved one or… it could mean keeping your phone on 24 hours a day and giving them open access to you. Being present (as needed), means you make yourself available to them when they most need you. You do not overly assert yourself or assume you know exactly what they need…. but you do what it takes to be flexible and to let them know you care. It also means you do things to let them know you are thinking of them… sending cards, text messages, emails, or leaving voicemails.

6. Give them space (when needed) – Sometimes people who are hurting will not want to talk about it; they just want a moment alone to reflect. You have to be willing to give them that time. Definitely, you want to stay in touch, check in on them, and make sure they are OK. However, once you know they are holding up OK… be willing to give them space, if that will help them.

7. Be selfless – You must totally put yourself aside and be there for the one you love. They need you. Sometimes, it can be difficult, because their pain may stir up memories of pain you have felt in the past. As much as you want to share your story, you have to remember to be sensitive to the pain they are experiencing. Be present and available… they will let you know when it’s OK to share your own personal story. In the meantime, though, you must fully deny yourself in order to better serve them.

8. Don’t over-promise – Love gives. This is even truer during times of grief. When you love someone, you hurt because they are hurting and you want to give them more and more. However, be sure you are speaking to them in love and not allowing your emotions to take over. Only commit to them what you are able to provide. The last thing you want to do is set up their hopes and then disappoint them.

9. Listen – Finally, be willing to listen… for as long as it takes. Actively listen to everything they share. This will help you understand the love they have for their loved one. Be thankful they desire to share that love and legacy with you.

I pray this information is helpful to someone. My heart goes out to anyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one. I know it is never easy. May God bless each of you and your families and may He give you a peace that passes all understanding.

I’m glad you read this far, because it means you’ve learned a lot of good information that will help you when put it into practice. Here’s what I want you to do next …

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