The old standard, “call me if you need anything.” Does anyone actually follow through and make that call? When someone is going through a hard time it can be hard to know what to say. So we often just throw out the offer to give us a call. When I am in the depths of grief there are so many reasons why I won’t call if I need anything.
Grief can affect us both physically and mentally. We can experience fatigue, memory loss and feelings of despair. All of these are just a few reasons why that call will never happen. There is a chance the person doesn’t even remember what you offered. On top of that, it is hard enough for some of us to ask what we need on a regular day, much less when we are grieving. Maybe we can’t even define what it is that we need. What we need may change by the minute.
Sorry, I won’t “call you if I need anything.”
Telling someone to “call me if you need anything” and never following up is about equal to someone who says, “thoughts and prayers” but never thinks about the loss or actually says any prayers. It is more of a formality and frankly is to make the person saying it feel better rather than to truly be a support for someone in their grief. It takes the responsibility off of ourselves and onto the grieving person when their burdens are already heavy.
Grief support is so important when dealing with a loss and you can be a part of the solution and healing. It may take more than an offer for support if they call you. Let’s talk about some ways you can be more specific in offering help or support while someone is grieving.
8 Ways to Offer Grief Support
- Offer to send dinner
- Make an appointment for a spa day
- Take the kids for an afternoon
- Clean the house
- Do yard work
- Do laundry or other chores
- Walk their dog or help out with pets
- Take a walk
When offering your support, be specific and schedule one of the above options. You can also make it more personal to their needs as well. For example if you know they enjoy exercise but have struggled to get out, plan a bike ride or a walk outdoors. The most important thing when you truly want to be helpful is to not simply offer the idea of help but to actually schedule it and do all the heavy lifting in regards to making it happen.
It is important to note that while I am suggesting you take it upon yourself to schedule something and say, “hey I am going to do this for you’, always be respectful of their boundaries. Follow up with them as many times as you need to and really keep an open line of communication. Ask what would be most helpful to them and then make it happen.