How to support a grieving Lancer

May 17, 2021

Watching+a+loved+one+go+through+the+grieving+process+can+be+difficult.+Not+sure+how+to+help+them%3F+Here+are+some+tips+and+information+to+assist+you.

Art by Diana Sheinman

Watching a loved one go through the grieving process can be difficult. Not sure how to help them? Here are some tips and information to assist you.

With the difficult news Lancer Nation has received just these past couple months, it must be addressed.

Grief: the natural response to losing a loved one, a relationship, or any version of security from health to finance to happiness. 

There is no immunity nor boundary as to who may grieve or for what. There are also infinite ways to cope with heavy loss.

When one loses something or someone with a significant impression on their lives, the delicate balance of emotions can be thrown off drastically. It is at this time that they will need your support the most.

How do you comfort a friend or relative grieving?

Read on for some helpful guidance to help someone get through the grieving process.

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Understanding the 7 Stages of Grief

Below are some ways to help you understand the seven stages of grief and how to assist someone you know who’s grieving into recovery when they are ready. 

Infographic created by Natalie Karlson

The Seven Stages of Grief do not have a specific order. There is also no rule saying anyone must experience each step. Some professionals may also narrow the list down to five stages. 

Shock and Denial: 

This stage gives the brain time to absorb and understand the news and how heavily it was relied on. It also acts to numb the brain, lessening the impact in such a short window. 

Pain and Guilt:

When the loss is recognized the pain is too. The mind will oftentimes reflect on the past, overthinking on what should have been done differently. Logic and reasoning do not always align here, but that doesn’t necessarily stop the flow of emotions.

Anger and Bargaining:

Commonly, frustration develops from blame. That can be towards oneself, another person, an entire situation, or a higher power such as God. The subject of blame could also become the target for receiving a second chance or alternate outcome.

Depression:

Reflecting on the time that has passed without having this significant subject will lead to sadness. A relative lack of interest in continuing life as it is now. Having a strong support system is most crucial at this step. Others will be able to help avoid harmful thoughts directed towards one’s well being.

Upward Turn:

The point at which good things happen and are noticed. This could be an occasional smile, laugh, or a characteristic that has returned since the loss. Described as “feeling a little less pain”, and returning to a state of normality.

Reconstruction and Working Through:

This step is not always included in the list, but consists of having more control. That could be mentally, physically, or just getting a strong hold on one’s emotions. 

Acceptance:

The last and final stage. The emotion that is most referred to in this step is hope. Hope for the future, and move forward with life. Nothing is ever forgotten, and there will be moments of grief. There will be an overall acknowledgment of what has happened, but also continuing on and not dwelling too hard on what-could’ve-been.

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What to say (and what not to say) to someone who is grieving.

Comfort is defined as, “the easing or alleviation of a person’s feelings of grief or distress,” in the Oxford American Dictionary. Great, but how does one do that? 

Infographics created by Natalie Karlson

Grief is a sensitive state of mind. Emotions are erratic and unpredictable. Oftentimes, people would prefer to avoid uncomfortable situations at all costs. But, if you know anyone who has lost a special person, especially, do not be afraid to reach out.

Art by Diana Sheinman

When someone tells you about their loss, remind yourself that this isn’t about you. Mental health has become a very prominent subject in recent years. For a long time, keeping in emotions was a show of strength. This mindset has been questioned as depression is more widely taught. Realizations on social media have developed their entire accounts to how difficult it is to open up and express emotions. One could claim depression has been desensitized with our new generations, but apps such as TikTok have proven otherwise. 

Keeping this in mind, let them speak. Encourage them too. Support their train of thought without interruptions and remind them it is okay to feel some sort of way. Don’t compare your own personal experiences to their own, or try to “make it better”. That won’t work in this situation. 

Silence. Possibly uncomfortable, but hey, maybe they need a sec. Fill in the space with a reassuring phrase. “I’m here if you need anything.”, “You can always talk to me.”, or a simple “I understand how you are feeling, don’t be afraid to reach out.”

To effectively converse, you must react and be present in the moment. No words? Head nod, eye contact, something to show you are actively listening.

From the artist: This art depicts a hand reaching out for help when depression beings to feel like a “dark abyss.” (Art by Damien Ouellet)
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Final thoughts.

If you are on the fence about confrontation, keep this in mind. There are multiple ways to help:

 

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “How to support a grieving Lancer”

  1. Susan on May 18th, 2021 6:53 pm

    What an incredibly poignant article so relevant locally, nationally, and internationally at this time. Great work Natalie!

  2. Janie on May 20th, 2021 11:21 pm

    Wonderful article. Such a very important topic for all of us. Very thoughtful & compassionate. Thank you for such a timely & well written article.

  3. Janie on May 21st, 2021 9:27 am

    Very well said Natalie. This is an important topic for sure. So difficult to know how to help someone or to even be aware of how to help yourself going through the grieving process. Thank you for such a sensitive , relevant article.

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