By now, mostly everyone knows how to help support people who are planning a funeral. We bring food, wash dishes, babysit kids, tend to the animals. We make phone calls and handle ceremony logistics and screen calls for the family.
We know what to do here.
What most still struggle with, is how to support the grieving in the weeks and months that follow…once the quiet settles in.
One of the questions I’m most often asked is “What do I do when someone brings up a memory of their loved one? How should I react?”
There really isn’t a right answer to this question, but a plethora of wrong ones. So, let’s start with the one big DON’T.
DON’T ignore the comment – This person has just decided that you were a safe space to share how they felt. Honor that. After that, it’s really just about following the other person’s lead. The worst thing you can do when supporting someone who has lost a loved one, is to avoid talking about the person who was lost.
If they cry when you bring them up, it’s most likely that the tears were already anxiously awaiting release….don’t let that deter you. Tears are good. They heal.
Don’t be afraid. Death is as normal as it is painful, but to accept it, we must understand it. To understand it, we must discuss it. To discuss it, we must face it.