Knowing how to show love and support after someone has experienced a loss can be a difficult challenge to embrace. Often, the fear of saying the wrong thing or overstepping boundaries can keep us from giving the emotional support our loved ones need. These are some of our go-to practices for showing your love and support to a loved one who has experienced a loss.
Know How to Talk and How to Listen
Understand that listening is just as important as talking. Approach the topic candidly,especially if they bring up the individual they’ve lost, and let them talk for as long as they are comfortable. Don’t try to avoid the subject or steer away from it when it comes up. When possible and appropriate, ask them questions. Simply asking “Do you want to talk about it?” can easily open the door they desperately want to enter but just don’t know how.
We’ve all heard this: “Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you!” It can be incredibly difficult for people to reach out when they need something. A much better alternative is to offer specific and directed help: “I’m going to the store. What do you need me to pick up for you?” or “I’m free this afternoon, do you want me to pick up Sarah from school?” Offer multiple times over the course of a period of time so they know you are sincere, as well as available for the support they need.
Send a Gift
A wonderful way to show your love and sympathy is through a thoughtful gift. This could be as simple as making a meal and dropping it off with a bouquet of flowers, or you could send a curated sympathy box. Gift giving can be the best way to tell people that you love and care about them, and let them know that they are in your thoughts. Shop remembrance gifts at Laurelbox and help nourish their heart with something personal and meaningful.
It’s possible that they will not be ready to talk or visit when you first approach them. Be patient with your loved ones as they work their way through the grieving process. Do your best not to take anything too personally, and continue to let them know that you love them and are thinking about them. The knowledge that they have someone to go to when they are ready will mean the world to them.
Educate Yourself About Depression
We all experience times of disconnection and depression in our lives. However, if your loved one is showing symptoms of depression that aren’t fading, or if they get worse over time, it could be time to recommend seeking professional help. This can be a tricky subject to approach- avoid telling them what to do. Express your concern for them and use phrases such as “have you thought about seeing a therapist?” or “I’m worried about you. Perhaps it’s time to seek professional help.”