Seeing someone you love go through a difficult time is one of the worst things in the world. We all know that life isn’t easy but we can’t help but feel betrayed, angry and devastated when bad things happen to the people closest to us.
Watching your little sister go through a breakup or seeing your best friend come to terms with the loss of their parent is harrowing. We tell them we are there, no matter what, but how else can we help when the person we love so deeply is experiencing one of their darkest moments?
I wish we could just wave a magic wand and make all of the bad things disappear but we can’t, it’s harsh but being honest is the only way to be. However, all is not lost. There are little things you can do that can brighten those dark days, even if it’s just for a moment.
These little acts can bring a glimmer of happiness and hope into your loved one’s life.
1: Call them
People can struggle to ask for help, even when they’re going through difficult times, like a breakup or unemployment. Random phone calls can help them feel like they’re not entirely alone and that someone is always there to listen to their troubles. Reach out to them and show them you’re there. If they don’t want to talk then let the call ring out.
Material things like flowers are not going to make their worries vanish, but they can help ease anxiety and pain. A recent study found that flowers should be 'complementary medicine' for recovering patients.
3: Embrace The Bad Feelings
Crying can be good for the soul. Sometimes letting it all out can be the best thing for you. Remind your friend or family member that bottling it all in is no good. Let them cry on your shoulder when times are tough.
4: Be There
The world can feel like the loneliest place when something bad happens to you. A lot of people tend to isolate themselves and avoid socialising during times like these, which is understandable, but it’s important to make sure they’re not shutting themselves out. Visit them in the evening and simply be there. You don’t have to do anything lavish or exciting. Sometimes just having someone to sit with can help.
5: Be Honest
Don’t sugarcoat the situation or make them feel like a victim. They’ll be inundated with the ‘hope you’re okay’ texts, which may not mean as much as a real message from their best friend or sister. Tell them you understand how horrible they feel and how that feeling isn’t going to change overnight, but they will start to feel better one day.
6: Help at Home
Help them with tasks that need to be done like going to the supermarket, topping up the electricity meter, washing dishes, walking the dog and cooking dinner. There will be days when they don't want to get out of bed so having an extra set of hands around the house will be a true saviour.
It’s the most simple but helpful thing you can do. Sometimes all we need to do is vent and word vomit so be the person who will listen in their time of need. You don’t have to offer advice or solutions to their problems. All you have to do is let them pour their heart out.
8: Continue the Support
You can’t just flip a switch and move past the grief, heartache and turmoil. Losing a loved one, going through a serious illness, having your heart broken and all those other dreaded life experiences stay with us. It’s important to remember that people don’t just get over these things. They will shape them and change their lives forever. They may be smiling and laughing again but that doesn’t mean you have to stop supporting them. It’s important to remember that even those who seem as merry as ever can be hurting so check in often and be there always.
Obviously these things aren’t going to make all their fears, worries and heartache vanish. I’d sooner make the cancer vanish but we don’t have that power, but we do have the power of friendship and we must make the most of it during these devastating times.