Recognize every loss is a unique loss. Recognize each person grieves in their own way. Some people cry; some don’t. Some people talk; some don’t. It’s not unusual for people to grieve different losses differently.
Give your loved one the support of simply being with them without expecting them to do or say anything. When they want to talk, listen … listen with love; listen without judgment. Talk very little; simply listen. They may tell the same stories over and over; this is normal.
You might also ask, for instance, “May I hug you?” Or suggest “Let’s go for a walk.” Or encourage them to talk by saying “Will you tell me a story about a special time with [name]?”
Reassure your loved one that grief challenges our mental functioning. This shows up in an inability to focus or to concentrate, difficulty in making decisions and processing information, and distraction and disorganization. Remind your loved one that they are not going crazy; they are mourning.
Grief is not just emotionally draining; it is physically demanding. Encourage your loved one to get adequate rest; even if they cannot sleep, remind them to lay down and rest. Nutritious food and moderate exercise are also helpful.
Realize that it is not unusual for loss to impact our spiritual outlook and that may include a loss of faith. So, if your loved one is angry at God, allow them their anger. God is big enough to take it. (If your God isn’t, borrow mine for awhile.)
Sometimes it is an enormous help to simply do things even (especially) when your loved one says there’s nothing they can think for you to do … clean their house, buy groceries, do their laundry, take them out for something to eat, drive them to doctor and other appointments. Use your best, loving, supportive wisdom. Sometimes doing things is the wrong thing to do for your loved one; you’ll know what is best.
If your loved one has had an active prayer life in the past, suggest they may want to pray. Offer to pray with them. Offer to call the Silent Unity Prayer Line at 1-800-669-7729. This free service is available 24/7/366. Love offerings are accepted but not solicited. Prayer associates are honored to pray with all callers.