Grieving isn’t an easy process for anyone, but it becomes more unbearable when you’re unsure what to do, how to act, or how to help others. As a college student, you may experience your first major loss in the family—and the grief can hit you like a truck, whether you were close to them or not.
Whether you’re trying to stay strong for the rest of your family or having a hard time processing everything, consider these heartfelt ways to support your family after a loss to regain a semblance of control as you do what you can to help.
While it may sound selfish to support yourself first after your family experiences a loss, it’s much harder to help anyone through grief if your mind is as clouded as theirs. You may also have other responsibilities that you need to tend to before you can grieve, such as schoolwork or communicating with professors. Allow yourself time to process the death and refocus as you think of your place in the funerary ceremonies.
Supporting yourself also means taking care of yourself—eat healthy, filling meals, and keep up your hygiene during this uncertain time.
Offer Help With Funeral Planning
Planning a funeral isn’t an easy or inexpensive task to complete—many mental and financial barriers can get in the way and hinder the process. You may not have enough spending money to offer financial assistance to your family, but you can put in some work to make the funeral one that properly represents how much your loved one meant to the family. Offer to take on extra responsibilities to prevent your family from feeling overwhelmed.
You may only have the ability to do simple tasks, but any help you can provide is a boon to your family after a loss. Plan displays that will sit in the reception hall or pick a catering service to provide the food for the event. Consider figuring out which picture to use on the monument’s photo plaque for a personal addition to the final resting place. Things are hard right now, but the sooner your family completes every funerary task, the sooner you can focus on recovery.
Sometimes, a little bit of empathy is the greatest way to support your family after a loss. Tensions are high due to the stress everyone feels, but if you keep yourself cool and collected, you can avoid starting a fight over something small. Remember that the stress may make your family members say things they don’t mean, and respect their boundaries.
If they don’t want direct help with funeral preparations, they may prefer if you keep your distance and help by preparing their meals or buying little presents. Take care of your family now, and they’ll appreciate it once the storm of intense emotion clears.