At some point, everyone experiences the death of a loved one. If your friend or classmate loses a parent, grandparent, friend, or other family member, it can be difficult to know what to do to help them.
At some point, everyone experiences the death of a loved one. If your friend or classmate loses a parent, grandparent, friend, or other family member, it can be difficult to know what to do to help them. You may be feeling like you don’t know what to say or you may be wishing you could do anything to fix it for them. This video will give some helpful tips for you to help support a friend or classmate who has experienced loss.
Listening to your friend or classmate can help them. Sometimes, when people lose a loved one, it is helpful for them to tell the story. They might need a friend to be there to listen to them tell the story about the death of their loved one. They might want to tell you about memories they had with their loved one, things they will miss about them, and other cherished memories. Welcoming these stories and being there to listen can help show your support.
You may feel like you have to say something or the right thing. Sometimes, it’s helpful to let your friend or classmate know that you are there for them if they want to talk. Let them know that you are there to listen and that you are sorry for their loss. It is important to acknowledge that you do not understand what they are going through, but you recognize that they might not be feeling themselves. Even if we experience the death of a loved one, we may experience grief in different ways than our classmates and friends. It is important that we do not compare our own situations to theirs.
Sometimes, as a friend, you may want to go above and beyond to help another who is hurting—when this happens, people sometimes overcompensate- or over extend ourselves to help others and feel exhausted emotionally. It is okay to ask for support from people in our life- as we try to support others- and to recognize that while we want to do alot to help another person who is hurting, we also have to take care of ourselves emotionally. Finding this balance can be hard, and there is no right or wrong answer that fits every situation. What does fit is being open with a trusted adult that you are navigating a situation with a friend who is grieving, and you may need support too.
You can ask them questions like: What has this been like for you? How have you been doing? Do you need anything? Do you want to talk about what happened? Do you want to share any stories about the person who died?
Do not say: be strong, toughen up, it’ll get better, I know exactly what you’re going through, someone I know died before, you’ll get over it, you must be so angry, you must be so sad, they lived a long life, you should remember all of the good things you have.
Overall, remember that listening can be more powerful than speaking. It is ok to ask questions. Do not assume that you know how someone is feeling. If you are worried about a friend or classmate being sad or having a difficult time, it is always important to reach out to a trusted adult, like a parent or a teacher, to provide them with the support they need.