Helping Loved Ones Grieve From a Distance

Losing a loved one is hard. It can be even harder watching someone you love go through the different stages of grief. More than anything you want to take their pain away. You wish you could fill that hole in their heart and push them past the mourning phase. But this isn’t your loss, so it isn’t your fight. All that you can do is be there for them. 

But what does that look like when you live too far away to just stop by one evening? Or how can you help them when you have to practice social distancing?

No matter where you live or what’s going on in the world, you can still show up and help your loved one from a distance. Here’s how.

Get personal with technology.

The great thing about today’s technology is that it allows you to connect with loved ones even if you live on the other side of the world. And there’s more than one way you can do it. You can play games together online. You can create a customized Spotify playlist for them. You can use FaceTime or Zoom to video chat or have an at-home dinner date. 

Express your sincerest sympathies. 

Simply telling your friend, “I’m sorry” and “I’m here for you” can be enough. Sometimes people struggle to find the right things to say to a friend after someone they love dies. There isn’t a magic phrase that will take their pain or grief away, but letting them know that you’re sorry and you love them can provide the feelings of validation and comfort they might be seeking. So give your friend a call, send a text, write a letter, or send an email. The means of communication and words you say don’t matter as much as the act itself: letting your loved one know that they are on your mind and in your heart.

Send a meaningful gift.

If you can’t hand-deliver a gift or drop off a homecooked meal, do the next best thing – send them one. Send a curated gift box from laurelbox or put together a customized care package to help comfort your loved one during this difficult time. You can also order dinner from a local restaurant to be delivered to them. 

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Reach out to those who live nearby.

If you live far away and can’t physically be there to help, reach out to your friend’s family, friends, and/or neighbors who live nearby. Maybe send them your recipe for chocolate chip cookies and ask them to make and drop them off because you know they are your friend’s favorite. Or you could let someone know that in talking to your friend that it seems like they could use help with something, and then ask if they can either offer to help with it or just go over and do it. Some people in the midst of grief don’t feel like asking for help. And while those who are grieving often appreciate people offering to help, some also wish that others would stop asking and just go ahead and take the dog on a walk or mow the yard for them. 

In times of long-distance living and social distancing, showing love and support to a friend in need is more than just being there in person. You can comfort and show support for a loved one who is grieving by being there for them however you can and however they need you to be no matter how much physical distance there currently is or has to be between you.

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