How To Comfort a Grieving Person

The grief caused by the loss of a loved one is often too much to bear, especially for the people who had been close to that person. If you had experienced a similar loss before in your life, then you should know how the grieving persons would feel. You might even want to comfort and console them that everything would be alright, but you need to be careful so you would not hurt their feelings. Know how to reassure the bereaved with the suggestions given below so you could help them move on with their lives.

What you need:

  • Sensitivity and empathy
  • Tactfulness
  • Patience

Show some concern. You should be or at least show that you are concerned for the well being of the grieving person. Understand what they are going through and what they are feeling, doing so you would know the right means and words to use to console them. Share your feelings and experiences with them if you have experienced losing a loved one before, but only if they would be willing to listen to you.

Be familiar with the stages of grief. This is a popularly used model applied to people trying to come to terms with their coming deaths and even for people who have lost a loved one. This behavioral pattern had been introduced by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, and there have been some variations. Use this pattern for reference for dealing with the grieving person:

  • Denial stage: The person is in shock and has difficulty accepting the fact that their loved one have died.
  • Guilt stage: The person is feeling guilty that they have not done enough for the person who have died.
  • Anger stage:  the person questions why this tragedy has happened to them and they are angry for it.
  • Bargaining stage: the person is struggling to cope with the situation
  • Depression stage: the person is in a depression that could last for a long period of time.
  • Acceptance stage: the healing part of the process where the person is most likely able to move on.

Lend a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. If the bereaved are willing to listen to you, then they would feel reassured if you listen to their troubles and frustrations. Let them talk and vent out what they want to say as much as they want, and listen to them while they are at it. Also, offer some consolation and, if you are rather close with the grieving person, give them a hug or something similar to show that you would be there for them. These actions would show that you care, and the person would appreciate that.

Offer the grieving person help. Offer your help to the person in case he or she would need it. Do so while they are in the denial, guilt, and anger stage of their grief because this is when they would most need help from others. Just like offering a listening ear and being a shoulder to cry on, this gesture would reassure the person that somebody cares.

Be patient and understanding with the grieving person, and be careful that you would not hurt them anymore than they already are.  


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