Losing a loved one can be a painful, stressful event in a person's life. Many people feel uncomfortable around those in mourning because they do not know what to say or do. You can help a friend who has lost a grandmother by providing support, both emotional and practical, and relieving stress.
When your friend is struggling with the void left by a deceased loved one, such as a grandmother, you have an opportunity to offer comfort. It is important to openly show your compassion and sympathy. Do not be afraid to use the word "died" or to talk about the person who is gone, suggests the Helpguide.org article "Supporting a Grieving Person." Offer companionship, lend an ear and create a peaceful atmosphere in which your friend can express feelings, advises "A LifeCare Guide to Helping Others Cope with Grief."
Identify Areas of Need
Providing practical assistance for a friend whose grandmother has passed away prevents your comrade from having to deal with day-to-day decisions and activities, such as preparing food, mowing the yard, driving to appointments and doing housework. Avoid making open-ended statements such as "Let me know if I can help," says the LifeCare guide. Your friend may be too emotional to express needs and wants, so be direct when asking if you can take of something.
Comments to Avoid
Knowing what not to say to a grieving person is just as important as knowing how to offer compassion. Refrain from saying "I know how you feel," "he's in a better place now" or "it is time to put this behind you," suggests Helpguide.org. Such statements may be interpreted as signs that you are minimizing your friend's feelings. Instead of offering advice or using terms like "you should," try making helpful suggestions or asking questions that begin "do you think it would be a good idea..."
Understand the Grief Process
Equipping yourself with knowledge of the grieving process and its associated behaviors and symptoms is one way to help a friend cope with the loss of a beloved grandmother. For example, if you know that anger is common in a person mourning such a personal loss, you can better understand your friend's feelings and handle anger gently, says the article "11 Ways to Comfort Someone Who's Grieving" in "HEALTHbeat," a Harvard Medical School newsletter. Recognizing that the grief process has no timetable and is unique for each person can help you remember to offer comfort for an extended period following the loss, especially during times such as holidays and birthdays, when the now-deceased grandmother probably spent cherished time with your friend.
- Barbara Penoyar/Photodisc/Getty Images