Are you worried about a bereaved loved one and you want to help them to stop grieving? Perhaps they just need a little more time. However, they may need help letting go and moving on. What can you do? We will provide the answers you need in the following lines.
The 3 Steps to Help Your Loved One Stop Grieving and Move on
1. Help Them Acknowledge, Live, and Express Their Emotions
Your loved one cannot move on until they’ve cried their heart out, screamed their pain, and swallowed their tears. It is not just an assumption, but an old and tested strategy. Sigmund Freud was the first one to suggest that people need to work through their grief, in his paper Mourning and Melancholia.
Judy Tatelbaum wrote in The Courage to Grieve that, after losing someone we love, we need to “thoroughly experience all the feelings evoked by our loss”. If we don’t do it, our grief will be unsuccessful.
Therefore, if you want your loved one to move on, you need to help them work through their grief. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Help them remember their good times with the deceased by looking at photos and videos of them. They need to remember them young and full of life, not sick, hurt, depressed, or on their death
- Talk about the deceased and the funeral, about what the deceased would have wanted for your loved one. Your loved one needs to come to terms with the loss before they can move on, and they need to see their moving on as a way to honor the deceased’s will.
- Help them accept their loss by going to the cemetery or at the columbary where they keep their loved one’s ashes. Although they may not like it, they need to say goodbye and understand that they and their loved one are now in different worlds.
In the beginning, your loved one will probably control their reactions and keep their calm. However, their grief will eventually overwhelm them and they will end up letting it all out. They may cry, scream, hit you, lock themselves in their room and cry, or get drunk.
As long as these reactions are only temporary, they are helpful. Just don’t leave their side and remind them you need them.
2. Show Them Their Loved One Is Gone but Will Never Be Forgotten
Many people associate moving on with forgetting and they feel guilty. You need to show your loved one that they can move on while still treasuring the memory of their loved one. Here are a few ideas of how you can do that:
- Offer them a memorial gift. It can be a piece of memorial jewelry, a decoration, or a memory box. You can personalize it with the name of their lost one or with a thoughtful message.
- Help them start a memorial garden or set up a corner in their home where they can honor the memory of their loved one.
- Help them plant a memorial tree.
Any of these will help them keep their loved one’s memory close as they move on with their life.
3. Keep Them Busy and Motivate Them to Move On
According to a 2014 review of the research on grieving, rituals help grievers move on. Help your loved one return to their old rituals or create new ones. It could be a morning walk, coffee, volunteer work, a book club, or anything they would like to engage in.
To make sure they don’t lose their motivation, make them feel needed, treasured, and able to make a difference for the people around them. Ask for their help even if they don’t need it, show them how much good they can do for others.
Your loved one will need time and support to recover after their loss, but they are lucky to have you in their life. Show them your love and appreciation and help them stop grieving and move on with one of our sympathy gifts!