- Cancer Information
- Advanced cancer
- Understanding grief
- How to help someone who is grieving
- Ways to help someone with grief
Ways to help someone with grief
ListenBe a good listener and don’t force someone to talk. Just being by their side may be enough. They will talk when they are ready. Follow their lead in how they want to express their feelings.
RememberLet the person know you are thinking of them on important occasions (e.g. birthdays, anniversaries, holidays). You could send a card, write a letter or gift them a plant or flowers. It’s also important to check in now and then on days that are not special occasions.
Share memoriesAsk if it is okay to talk about the person who died. Don’t be afraid that it will be upsetting. The person you are supporting won’t have forgotten about their loss. Friends and family members may use different names for the person who died – ask what name they would like you to use.
Provide practical supportIf needed, help with everyday tasks such as shopping, laundry, gardening, picking the kids up from school, caring for elderly parents, paying bills, cooking and driving.
Stick aroundDon’t withdraw your support once you feel the person is coping better. Grief from a major loss can take a long time. Your support may be more helpful months or even years down the track, rather than right after the death.
Podcast: Coping with Grief
A/Prof Lisa Beatty, Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology and Consulting Clinical Psychologist, Flinders University Institute of Mental Health and Wellbeing, SA; Sandra Anderson, Consumer; Dr Alexandra Clinch, Palliative Medicine Specialist and Deputy Director, Palliative Care, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Royal Melbourne Hospital, VIC; Christopher Hall, Chief Executive Officer, Grief Australia; Nathan MacArthur, Specialist Grief Counsellor and Accredited Mental Health Social Worker, Sydney Grief Counselling Services, NSW; Linda Magann, Clinical Nurse Consultant – Palliative Care, St George Hospital, NSW; Palliative Care Australia; Richard Upton, Consumer; Lesley Woods, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA.
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