Tuesday, February 12, 2013
11 (wholefood) tips for supporting grieving loved ones
Two of my beautiful friends are grieving following the deaths of people they love. I have unintentionally become an 'expert' on the topic of grief and how to offer support, not through a university degree but through the experience of having five significant family members die when I was aged between 18 and 23 (my great grandmother, my mum, my brother, my uncle and my grandmother). Experiencing so much loss early in my life has of course been painful and sad but through my loss and grief I have experienced many riches too, such as a clearer perspective about what really matters.
After having a cup of tea with one of my friends who is in the depths of raw new grief I started to think about the ways to support people who are grieving and I remembered ways that people supported me. Making food and sharing food is a very obvious and practical way of showing your love and support to someone who is grieving, especially to someone who is having to find a way to keep their family life going while feeling broken hearted.
If you have someone in your life who is grieving and you want to support them but don't really know how here are my tips with some wholefood ideas in the mix:
1. Acknowledge the person's loss. It sounds so simple but it means so much. "I am really sorry to hear that your......has died" or write it in a card. Avoiding the person because you don't know what to say is not helpful. If they cry when you speak to them its ok, you didn't upset them, the tears were already there.
2. Offer to do their grocery shopping for them or just arrive with a bag of groceries.
3. Make a pot of soup or some meals that can be frozen. Soup is soothing and nourishing, and it is easy to eat and digest which is important when appetite is low and digestion is unsettled which can be a part of grief.
4. Organise a meals roster among friends and provide cooked meals for a few weeks.
5. Deliver a fruit bowl to your friend, it is both nourishing and visually beautiful.
6. Offer to mind their children so that they can have some space just to be with their feelings.
7. Offer to do school drop offs and pick ups. Chatting at the school gate may be the last thing a grieving parent feels like doing.
8. Bake a wholesome cake or batch of biscuits.
9. A selection of herbal teas makes a thoughtful gift, camomile is of course a good choice as is valerian to help with sleep.
10. Put together a care pack that includes a candle, lavendar oil (sometimes it is difficult to sleep when grieving a few drops on a pillow can help), a beautiful soap, a purse pack of tissues or a handkerchief and perhaps a journal for some writing if your friend likes writing.
11. Grief is not time limited. The intensity of the feelings lessen over time but the loss remains. Be mindful that your friend may have new waves of grief around anniversaries, birthdays and Christmas. A small gift or a card, or making time for a cup of tea at these times means a lot.
If you have suggestions to add to this list please do in the comments. And to all those who are in the midst of grief, go gently for as long as you need to. xxx