Interacting with the grieving may seem like a simple task, but often it’s like walking on thin ice. In Sunday’s article, Best Tips for Interacting with the Bereaved (Part I), we looked at several “Don’ts” to avoid when dealing with the bereaved. The aim wasn’t to scare you into being silent, but to bring profound insight for handling individuals in the sensitive grieving process. So, now you know what not to do… what should you do? Here are some helpful tips.
Offer a Warm Hug: Proceed with caution; some individuals are a stickler for personal space. Nevertheless, you know the person you’re interacting with. When appropriate, offer a big hug. A warm embrace can bring just the right amount of comfort words sometimes can’t.
Be Genuine: It’s easy to repeat the usual stuff people say… “My condolences, Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Which is one of my favorite verses!) and so on, and so forth. Instead, use your own words to express sympathy; words from the heart. Say how you’re really feeling—nothing more, nothing less. And when you can’t find the right words, that big hug mentioned above will do just fine.
Be a Good Listener: The bereaved may find comfort in talking. Take the chance to be a good listener. Let him/her vent, ramble, and chatter away. They may not necessarily need a response, but is trying to process the fact that a loved one has gone. With minimal interruptions, let him/her talk as much as his/her breath will allow.
Be Helpful and Supportive: Extend your assistance in any way possible, from household chores to funeral arrangements. The bereaved may not have the time or the zeal for cooking, this is an excellent opportunity for you to help. Prepare meals, either throughout the grieving process or for the reception after the funeral. Just be sure to check with the bereaved so you don’t duplicate meals already prepared by others. Even if the grieving doesn’t ask for help, ensure you offer.
Bring Hope: Briefly encourage the grieving, share with or remind him/her that God is in control. “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
Please do leave a comment, were these tips helpful and do you have any more you would like to add?