How to talk about grief

Unfortunately, grief is a universal experience that affects almost everyone at some point in their life. By creating a supportive and understanding culture around grief, we can help others – and ourselves – navigate grief and loss in a much healthier way. Here, we explore five ways to get better at talking about the loss of a loved one.

1. Be empathetic

Grief can be an extremely isolating experience, so it’s understandable that many people might feel entirely alone in their pain. It's important to be empathetic to this situation and understand that what they are going through may be completely overwhelming. Listen without judgement and try to put yourself in their shoes.

Without being pushy, offer them a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on or just be present – even the smallest gesture can make a big difference. By validating their emotions and being supportive of their needs, you can help them feel less alone during this difficult period.

2. Use appropriate language

The language we use when talking about grief can have unintended consequences for how others perceive their own grief. Cliches like “time heals all wounds” and “they are in a better place now” may not be taken well, despite your best intentions. Instead, use language that acknowledges the pain and difficulty of grief.

It's also important that we don’t tell others how they should be feeling. Similarly, don’t try to offer solutions to their pain. As everyone’s grief is unique to their situation, it's essential that you respect their process.

3. Respect their wishes

Grief is a very personal experience. People must process their emotions in a way that best suits them, which is why you shouldn’t try to intervene by rushing them or encouraging them to ‘move on’.

Offering support and being present can be very valuable, but it's just as important to give them space and time to grieve. Allowing them to deal with their grief in their own way – and at their own pace – may be exactly what they need.

4. Offer practical help

Due to the overwhelming emotional toll that grief can take, it can be difficult for some people to carry out their everyday tasks. By offering a helping hand in this situation, you can relieve some of the stress and burden they may be carrying.

Ask if you can take care of any tasks for them, such as doing the washing, preparing and cooking meals, looking after their children or pets, or managing other essential household chores. When others realise they are truly not alone and that they have a solid support network in place, it can be a much-needed comfort in their time of grief.

5. Don't forget about them

Grief is often a long and lonely road, and as much as they may not want to reach out to you directly, it's important that you continue to support your loved one – even weeks and months after the initial shock has passed.

Check in on them regularly and let them know that you are always there whenever they need you. Something as simple as sending a kind message or picking up the phone to ask how they are doing can be enough.

Caring for ourselves and others

Talking about grief can be a gruelling process, but it is something we all need to get better at. If you are currently grieving, remember that you are not alone, and it's okay to ask for help. It’s also important to be prepared for the death of a loved one, and even your own passing. 

Funeral insurance could help to reduce the financial burden on those you care about most and support them when arranging the perfect farewell for you with cover up to $15,000. Consider visiting the Guardian Insurance website today to request a funeral insurance quote.