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The journey to healing after a loss is a strange thing. The grief will come in waves, ebbing and flowing through your emotions and existence. If a family member or friend has experienced loss, their grief does not stop after a funeral. From the death to the funeral, they have been surrounded by loved ones and kept busy making arrangements. But what happens after the services have ended? They will need your support in getting through this difficult time.
The exhaustion one faces after a funeral makes it hard to focus on self-care. One such self-care activity that often falls by the wayside is cooking, or feeding oneself. Thus, an easy remedy is that you provide some home-cooked meals. If you are separated by distance, find a nearby restaurant that provides delivery and have some favorite foods sent over.
If you are able to cook them a meal, try to use disposable containers and utensils so that they don’t need to worry about doing dishes, or returning you the items. Also be mindful of food allergies or dietary restrictions. If you’d like to coordinate meals with other family and friends to further alleviate their burden, this is also wonderful, and can be made easier through websites such as MealTrain.
2. Help with Pet or Child Care
If the bereaved family has small children, offer to babysit. This will allow the parents to take a much needed break, and can also allow them to make arrangements or talk about topics that were too difficult with children around.
Pets are a comfort, but they can also be a chore. Offer to pet-sit, take their dog for a walk, or even arrange a day of grooming.
Keeping up a house can be hard work, especially if the family of the deceased relied on them to help with yard work. Pitch in, or help pay for services. Help with lawn mowing, leaf cleanup, snow removal, whatever tasks need to get done. This will alleviate some big worries for them.
4. Follow Up
The days and weeks following a funeral can make one feel as if they are barely treading water. Whether you live close or far, make an attempt to reach out to your friend/family. Give them a call, ask how they are doing - they may want to talk about their grief, or just talk about anything, it’s nice to have someone to talk to.
If you or they aren’t much of a phone person, send a card to let them know you are thinking of them. Even an email to check-in should be well-received.
5. Send Flowers
We are all aware of the custom to send flowers to the grieving for the funeral or memorial service. Receiving flowers weeks or months after the service can let the family know you are thinking of them. It can also brighten up their day when they need it the most.
If you’d like to think outside the box and choose something beyond flowers, consider a fruit or cookie basket, or even reaching out to specific companies, like Here for You, that provide compassion packages you can order.
One who is grieving, especially if they are elderly, may not feel up to the task of driving. If you are local to them, help provide rides to doctor’s appointments, shopping, or even just to get them out of the house.
If distance separates you, you could provide gift cards to car services like Uber and the like.
7. Remember Important Dates
Show them that you continue to care by reaching out to them, long after the funeral, and anticipate dates that may be difficult for them.
From anniversaries, to birthdays, to favorite holidays, they may have a difficult time getting through these while grieving the loss of their loved one. Let them know they aren’t alone.
8. Invite them Out
When we are grieving, we tend to turn inward, possibly shutting out those around us in lieu of solitude. When we are able to gather again in person, invite them out for a specific event, a concert, a movie, a sports event. If they refuse to go, do not get discouraged. Grieving is different for everyone, try to ask them to join you at a later time.
We are experienced professionals well-versed in assisting people on their journey through grief. On our website, we provide extensive grief support that can provide insight on how you can help your friend, or even work through your own grief path.