Grieving is hard. This is something we all know. That’s why when someone we love is grieving, we naturally want to support them as best we can. However, this is where we usually discover another truth: supporting someone who is grieving is also hard. If we haven’t gone through a similar grief journey ourselves, it is difficult to know what they need and what we should do (not to mention what we shouldn’t do). In fact, it is actually quite common to support a loved one through a loss well before we experience grief for ourselves. It is not until we go through our own journey that we realise where we could have better supported our friend or relative.
Below are 10 ‘grief support regrets’ that people commonly think about once they have experienced their own grief. We hope these can give you a more rounded understanding, and allow you to support and empathise with your loved ones on a deeper level.
10 Common Grief Support Regrets
I should have kept checking in months later than I did. I thought that they were no longer grieving simply because they seemed better outwardly.
I should not have avoided mentioning or asking about their loved one. I was concerned that talking about them would be upsetting, even though it probably would have been healthy.
I should have sent a personal message or gift, even though I thought we weren’t ‘close enough’. I assumed they would have found it strange, but they probably would have appreciated it.
I should not have told them that I understood what they were going through. Everyone’s grief journey is different, so insisting that you know what it’s like often demonstrates the opposite.
I should have been less intrusive. I insisted on visiting far too often, rather than letting them decide what was best.
I should not have praised them for being ‘strong’. This may have actually put pressure on them and made them feel like they can’t show their pain.
I should not have avoided them because I was uncomfortable, or because I assumed they needed space. They might have appreciated a catch up or an invite to an event, so I should have at least asked them.
I should not have said anything that started with the words ‘at least’. Insisting that they look on the bright side can communicate that what they’re feeling isn’t a big deal.
I should have treated them more like a normal person. The only conversations I tried to have with them were about their grief, but they probably would have wanted to talk about other things as well.
I should have listened far more than I talked.
If you’ve found these helpful, read our article with 10 More Grief Support Regrets.
Grinter’s Funeral Home has been serving families in Cambridge and the wider Waikato region for over 30 years. We understand that everyone grieves differently, and that the funeral is an important part of everyone’s journey. That’s why we believe that every funeral service should be personalised and meaningful. It should be a time to celebrate the life of your loved one together with friends and family, and say goodbye the way you want.