Helping Others Overcome Grief

Overcome GriefNobody knows the right words to comfort others overcoming grief. Worn-out platitudes – He’s in a better place. At least, she’s not suffering now – though well-intentioned, aren’t adequate.

Grief follows loss. Not to discount losses like loss of job, loss due to divorce and so on, we will focus on the Big Loss. The death of a loved one.

It’s natural for people to rally around before, during and following the funeral. Soon, you will observe the casseroles and cakes stop coming. People go back to their crazy-busy lives. This is also human nature.

People like you – who live through purpose and service – remain to support others overcoming grief. Be mindful – God is as near as our hands and feet. He will show you right action.

One Action is Worth Ten-thousand Words


The healing power of touch can’t be stressed enough. When the person who usually touches us is gone, it leaves a void. Rather than empty words, hold her hand, hug her. Gentle touches offer enormous comfort.

Reading God’s Word

Grief is a quiet experience. Sit in quiet with the bereaved person a few minutes. Then, read the Word of God in your inside voice. No need to ask what the person would like to hear. They are functioning with a numb mind. Here are suggestions:

Extracted from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, the beautiful Beatitudes are calming and enlightening. (Matthew 5: 3-10) In particular:

Blessed are those who mourn: for they shall be comforted – Matthew 5:4

Ecclesiastes 31:8, a study of opposites, tells us that God has decreed a time for everything. Most significant for the grieving person is #4:

A time to weep and a time to laugh,

A time to mourn and a time to dance.

You never know. Something you read from God’s Word may touch her in a deep place. While some people seek God in times of grief, others turn away. Remembering that prayer brings her closer to God is like three-giant-steps toward overcoming grief.

Offer your Shoulder

Each of us express grief in a different manner. Some people cry for months; others experience an emotional stuck-ness and don’t cry at the funeral, or afterwards.

If your person has not cried, offer your shoulder. No need to be embarrassed if you cry with her. A sorrow shared is halved. It has been reported by more than a few, their greatest comfort after the death of their beloved was when a friend cried with them.

Tears are a good and necessary part of the grieving process. Suppressing our feelings can lead to depression. Tears are essential for acceptance and ultimately, closure.

Practical Actions

Most say – call me if you need anything. You take action and stop at the grocery, for easy to fix items, like soup, eggs, cereal, milk, etc.

Most say – let me know if I can help. You make coffee and help write the thank-you notes.

Most say – I’ll check with you later. You call just to say, “I love you.”

In short, don’t be a nuisance, just do what you can.

The Adjustment Phase

Once your person accepts the loss of her loved one and pushes through the pain, she must adjust to a world where he is not present. Adjustment means she must take up the void left by things he handled, lawn care, automobile maintenance and so on. She is beautifully overcoming grief and needs you less for support. But more as a friend.

Final Thoughts

During the dark days, just be there. Listen when she talks…read the word of God…hold her when she cries.

Because you know there is a time to talk and a time to do.


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