For as long as desired by the family, the Hospice volunteer provides a supportive presence, someone to talk with both before and after the death of a loved one. Bereavement support is provided by group support with a trained facilitator, by in-home visiting and/or telephone
Guide for Helping Others with Grief *
Don’t try to find the magic words or formula to eliminate the pain of loss, Nothing can do that. Your role is simply to be there. Don’t worry about what to say or do, just be present for the grieving person to lean on when needed.
Don’t try to minimize the loss or make the person feel better. When we care, we hate to see friends in pain. We want to say “I know how you feel” or “maybe it was for the best”. This can work in some situations, but never with grief,
Help with responsibilities. A life has ended, but life itself has not. One of the best ways to help is to run errands, prepare food, take care of the kids, do laundry and help with simple chores.
Don’t expect the person to reach out to you. Many friends say, “call me if there is anything I can do.” In the first stages, grievers are overwhelmed at the simple thought of picking up a phone. If you are close, simply stop in and begin to help. People need it but don’t think to ask.
Talk through decisions. Bereaved people report having difficulty with decision making. Be a sounding board for your friend to help them explore their alternatives,
Don’t be afraid to say the name of their loved one. Bereaved people usually speak of them often, and believe it or not, need to hear that precious name and stories about their beloved. In fact, many grievers welcome this.
* Excerpted with permission from I Wasn’t Ready to Say Good-bye: a guide for surviving, coping and healing after the sudden death of a loved one by Brook Noel and Pamela D. Blair. Champion Press, 2000 (page 18)