When you’ve lost a loved one, the world as you knew it has changed forever. You lose your bearings, relationships change, and routines shift. Nothing feels right and the unfamiliarity is an uncomfortable reminder that life won’t ever be the same.
Most of us cherish the regularity of our lives and it’s our daily routines that give structure to our days. One of the most helpful things you can do for someone grieving a loss is to help them re-establish routines.
1. Offer to bring milk and bread every Monday or a rotisserie chicken each Wednesday, creating order to the week.
2. When there are children, offer to drive them to their activities or create a new carpool until the bereaved is ready to resume this task. Include the children in your own family activities so they stay engaged.
3. If the bereaved volunteered once a week or every other week, offer to take their place for the first month or two. Then, suggest you drive them or accompany them as they return to their volunteer activities.
4. Establish new routines that promote well being and engage the mind such as a Tuesday morning walk, a weekly exercise class, or a monthly book group.
5. Suggest you make a weekly or monthly date for coffee, breakfast, lunch, or dinner, always at the same food establishment and at the same time.
It takes patience to help someone who is sad, lost, and struggling. But it’s your helpfulness that can really make a difference, gently moving the bereaved back into their daily lives.
Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now available in three individual volumes: "Illness & Death," "Suicide" and "Miscarriage." Additional titles are available as e-books: "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store. Click here to order.