Virtuous Circle Counselling

Grief Counselling Calgary

What Do You Talk About With Someone Who Is Grieving?

Different Ways To Comfort Someone Who Is Grieving

Grief is a very personal experience, and each person’s experience is unique. People cope with grief in different ways and at different times. It is important not to tell someone what they should or shouldn’t feel. It is equally important to remember that each person may need different levels of support.

When someone you care about is grieving, it can be hard to know what to say. If you’re grieving too, it may be harder still. Here are a few suggestions to help you support someone who is experiencing loss:

Express Your Condolences

When someone has lost a loved one, it is important to acknowledge their pain by acknowledging the loss. Express sympathy and concern in a gentle manner. People may feel awkward offering words of condolence because they aren’t sure what to say or how to respond, but it is essential that they do. Saying something like, “I’m sorry for your loss,” lets the griever know you understand that they are hurting and that you are present in the grieving process with your support. 

When the griever receives this type of acknowledgment, it can be a great consolation and incentive for them to open up about their feelings and talk about how they’re coping with their situation in a healthy way.

Share A Fond Memory

Share a fond memory of the person who has passed, or ask them what their favourite memories were and ask in-depth questions about those memories. This helps not only to be with the person who is grieving but also helps that person go deeper into their memories of their loved ones and share more details rather than feeling like they’re just telling stories. 

By asking in-depth questions and learning more about different aspects of the story, we can really help the person who is grieving feel less alone and show that we’re there for them to talk with.

Offer A Safe Space To Talk

One simple way to start a conversation about grief is to ask a person who has recently lost someone close to them if they would like help coping with their loss. They might say yes, they might say they’re doing fine on their own — whatever they say (or don’t say), it doesn’t mean you failed. Whatever happens on the other side of that conversation is a gift, because it can lead to sharing a connection and memory of the person who died to honour them in a positive way.

Validate Their Feelings

Grieving the loss of someone is never easy — and that’s an understatement. There’s a wide range of emotions and stages from initial shock to major depression, anxiety and feelings of isolation. Someone who is grieving will likely go through a lengthy process to get to the other side. The first step in the process is validating the emotions they are going through, which can help them realize they are normal. Even if you don’t know what else to say, it’s okay just to say “I’m sorry for your loss” or “It’s okay to continue crying”.

Ask If There Is Anything You Can Do

The death of a loved one is a difficult time. Regardless of whether it is sudden or expected, it can be hard on family members and friends alike, who may feel lost for words despite their desire to help. Having someone say “I am so sorry – what can I do?” can make the day a little bit easier for those grieving. 

Let Them Know You’re Thinking Of Them

In any situation when someone dies, whether it’s a friend or family member, you are likely to be emotionally affected by their death. You may also be looking for ways to comfort the grieving person. Whether it’s your partner, parent, or some other loved one; you want them to know how much you care about them.

Just Listen

When it comes to helping someone with grief, listen. Don’t tell them how it’s going to be okay and that they shouldn’t feel the way they do. Don’t try to correct them or give them advice. Don’t tell them that time heals all wounds. Just listen. By listening to someone who is grieving, you will be helping in two ways: they will feel like they aren’t alone in the world – a feeling which is devastating to the grieving – and you are giving them an opportunity to speak their mind, a chance that so many people take for granted when things seem normal.

There is no right way to talk about someone who is grieving. You don’t need to think you need to say something profound or be the centre of attention. Sometimes it is enough just to sit with someone who needs you and be present.

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We at Virtuous Circle Counselling acknowledge Moh’kinstsis, the lands where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet, in what we currently call Calgary. We acknowledge that we are visitors on Moh’kinsstis and acknowledge the Blackfoot are those who named this area as Moh’kinsstis. In the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, we recognize the ancestral territories, cultures, and oral practices of the Blackfoot people, the Îyarhe Nakoda Nations, the Dene people of the Tsuut’ina Nation, and the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.