Three Important Ways to Help a Grieving Family

By: Vaughn Greene Funeral Services
Monday, June 18, 2018

You can’t take away the heartache for a family who has recently lost a loved one. But there are things you can do to show them you care and to make their lives a bit easier during their time of intense sorrow.

Your gesture doesn’t have to be expensive, time-consuming, or grandiose.
The smallest of actions are greatly appreciated by those who are grieving. Here are three simple actions that can be a big help to friends and family when they’re mourning the loss of a loved one:

Be with them.
If you’re nearby and know the family well, don’t be afraid to visit their home in the days after their loved one has passed. They need your hugs, support, and sympathy. In some situations, those most affected are unable to receive visitors. Go anyway, as someone will likely be there to receive your condolences for the family. Often, the family will want to want to talk about their loved one and share precious memories.

Share some food.
Food and drink is a necessity, and when a loved one passes, even the basics can be forgotten. Having those basic needs met by others during this time of tragedy is a wonderful gift. Freezer-friendly main dishes go over well.  Meatloaf and casseroles, for example, can be enjoyed at the time or stashed in the freezer for later. A pot of soup is simple to heat up and serve. Use disposable containers when possible so the family doesn’t have to wash extra dishes and keep track of returning them.

Offer your help in specific ways.  
One of the most difficult things about death is the feeling of helplessness that comes with it. Although you sympathize with the grieving family and want to do something to help, knowing how to reach out is difficult. Maybe they want to be alone right now. Maybe they’re bombarded with offers of help. Maybe they don’t know what they need or are too afraid to ask. In most cases, it’s a combination of all of these things. That’s why one of the best things you can for a grieving family is make a very specific offer of help and then let them decide if they want to take you up on it. By reaching out and offering your assistance, you’re letting them know that you’re thinking of them in their time of need. Tailor your offers so that they can easily say yes or no, such as:

“I’ll be free all weekend if you want me to watch the kids for a few hours.”
“I’m going to the grocery store this afternoon. Can I pick anything up for you?”
“I’ll be running errands tomorrow. Is there anything I can do for you while I’m out and about?”
“Could I stop by this afternoon and help you with some housekeeping?”

Remember, there is no one perfect way to help.
Any act of kindness on your part will be well received by a grieving family. It’s never too early or too late. Our experienced professionals can help you discover additional ways to bring comfort to the bereaved. Please reach out to us anytime.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 20 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved one. For more information, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.

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