Grieving is unbearable, and supporting a loved one in their grief sometimes even harder.

Here’s a few ideas to help you support in times of loss.

Just be there.

In a time of overwhelming grief experienced by a loved one, sometimes the best thing to do is to simply be there.

When grief is all consuming and the world feels heavy, talking about it could feel like the worst thing to do. Rather than sending an expensive bunch of flowers, offer the generosity of your time and thoughtful practical gestures instead. Time becomes far more valuable, because in the days following a loss, those who are left behind may value time spent with loved ones more than ever before.

One may wish to be alone, but not always. A consistent presence, instead of presents, is often the only thing a loved one needs. Not only today, but for days, months and even years after their ground-breaking loss. Remind your loved one with the affirmation that you are there for them, that you understand, and won’t go anywhere unless they tell you to. Allow the silence between you to speak a thousand words.

GeSkenk - Winnie the Pooh Quote

Practicality during the fog of grief

If you’re unable to give the gift of presence, a practical or thoughtful gift will always be appreciated, even if it’s not acknowledged at the time.

Whether it’s a home-made meal, a snack hamper for those unexpected guests, a cash donation to fill the increased expense gaps over this period, an offer to run a few errands – it’s the small gestures that can make the world of difference when grief is so disabling.

Thoughtful gifts to foster positive associations with a loved one, like a candle’s flame, can represent life. Gifting a loved one with a candle during the stage of acceptance and suggesting that they burn it when they are thinking of who they have lost, can be healing, and igniting that flame can bring about a feeling of keeping that person’s legacy alive.

GeSkenk - The Grief Handbook
GeSkenk – The Grief Box and Light in a time of loss

“The Grief Handbook will take you by the hand and offer empathy and compassion, helping you through what can feel like the worst days of your life”

When the author Bridget McNulty lost her mum suddenly, she could not find the support she needed in the rawness of her immediate grief, and the loneliness felt profoundly shocking. Her personal experience inspired her to create this handbook for anyone navigating grief. 

Write a letter

When words are hard to speak, or if you’re not sure what to say, write them down.

Sentences like “I am here for you, just press on my button any time of the day” may seem sincere and a genuine commitment to stepping in. But when you are in the depth of grief, there is nothing harder than reaching out to ask for help. Focus on words that acknowledge their pain, without trying to fix it. Reminding them of the beautiful memories you hold of the person or anything they shared with you about the person. But stay clear of words like “everything happens for a reason”, “they are better off now” and offers that rely on them to reach out for help.

GeSkenk - A note on grief

Reading a meaningful letter can be a healing experience for the person grieving, and the preferred way of receiving condolences at a time of loss for some. Every person experiences grief differently. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to experience it. Acknowledgement of someone’s loss in words, committing to simply being there for them and affirming your love for them without grandiose promises is enough.

After delivering the letter, be sure to continue your check-ins whether on Whatsapp, a phone call or a visit.

Schedule check-ins

The hardest time of grieving is when everyone moves on, but forgets that the person grieving hasn’t and probably won’t for a very long time – if ever.

The hardest time of grieving is when everyone moves on, but forgets that the person grieving hasn’t and won’t for a very long time. Make sure you continue to do thoughtful things regularly after that sad day, because that is when the person grieving needs it most! 

When everyone gets back to their daily routine, set a reminder on your phone to remember important anniversaries like the date of loss, birthdays and special occasions of the person who has passed. The first of these is always the hardest, but it never becomes easier. This will act as a reminder for your loved one, that those they have lost may be gone, but never forgotten. Deep loss is the price we pay for love.

GeSkenk - Calendar

At GeSkenk, we have all experienced debilitating grief. The loss of a significant other has brought on insurmountable pain, which is why our range of bereavement gift boxes curated for those who are grieving have been thoughtfully gathered with so much empathy, love and understanding in the hope that we can help someone feel supported as they navigate their grief in all its forms.

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