The grieving process is a very personal journey. However, certain universal phrases can help others get better. Explanations from Amélie Boukhobza, psychologist.
Comforting a grieving loved one is not easy. Knowing what to say and what to do to support him can even be very confusing. So to avoid making any more missteps, Amélie Boukhobza, psychologist, shares with us some practical and empathetic advice.
Be present and listen
“My first advice is to offer a space to others, where they can share their feelings, their emotions, without judgment. No need for big speeches! In mourning, the silent and attentive presence is often more comforting than trying to find the right words.“, confides Amélie Boukhobza.
Do not minimize the pain of others
“Even if the primary intention is to comfort the other, we must at all costs avoid ready-made and often very clumsy phrases like “He/She is in a better place now” or “Time heals all wounds”. These sentences can suggest that we are minimizing the pain of the other.”warns the psychologist.
Do not hesitate to talk about the deceased
“Why not tell positive stories about the deceased? Always, of course, in a positive setting/good memories. I also advocate encouraging the mourner to share their own happy moments with the deceased, to help transform grief into a tribute to life“, explains the expert.
Normalize the different emotions linked to grief
“Normalizing emotions, such as anger, confusion, or even relief is essential. Every emotion is an integral part of the grieving process and deserves to be recognized“, recalls Amélie Boukhobza.
Respect the time and stages necessary for mourning
“Respecting this tempo is important, because each person experiences grief differently. Some need solitude, while others seek companionship. It is therefore appropriate to respect the needs and psychological temporality of each person, without ever rushing or getting ahead of themselves. However, we don’t live with ghosts, and one day we will have to return to life and celebrate it again. Also be careful that the person does not sink into real depression.”says the psychologist.
Offer practical help
“The idea here? Go shopping, prepare small meals, take care of some household chores to relieve the other person and bring them a little comfort“, reveals the specialist.
Make small gestures
“Small touches like a message or a phone call can make a big difference. It’s about showing here that we are there, even from a distance“, explains Amélie Boukhobza.
Encourage the creation of small personal or family rituals
“These rituals, personal or family, are essential to honor the memory of the deceased. It is thus possible to light a candle or even visit a place dear to the missing person…“, comments the expert.
Consider outside help
“Finally, if the person is struggling to move forward despite the passage of time, they must be encouraged to seek support and/or professional support which could be beneficial to them.“, concludes the psychologist.