There are many articles teaching you how to deal with the death of a loved one, but what happens when a loved one of your loved one passes?
I have now gone through two such deaths and second time around, I still feel quite lost as to how I should be feeling. The fact that I am not personally acquainted to these people who mean so much to that someone close to heart means that I have a sort of detachment from them. And yet, I am somewhat related to them through my relationship with the person I care for.
The few lessons that I have learnt in coping with deaths of a loved one's loved one:
1. Don't use words like "I know how you feel".
Because let's face it, everyone deals with death differently. And it's worse still if you really don't know what it feels like and you're hoping to make them feel better by trying to empathise. You will never know what it's like to lose someone you hold dear in your heart until you actually do.
2. Listen or leave them be.
Coping mechanisms for different individuals differ. For me, I find that if I'm feeling sad I'd rather just be in the arms of someone close and bawl my eyes out. But for others, talking about it to a friend may work better. Or blasting loud music. Or eating a whole tub of ice-cream. So listen if they need listening or leave them alone if need be. Unless of course it involves drugs or excessive alcohol or suicide.
3. Just be normal.
I think the best way yet, is to go through life as normal. It is about the most helpful thing because it is offering the possibility and hope that life can go on like normal after the passing of a loved one. Of course it is inevitable for memories to linger and grief to set in once in awhile, but without disrupting the natural mourning period, the best support to give is to go on your usual business.
I'm not saying all these works for everyone. But these are some of the things that I have found to be quite useful in the situations that I have gone through. Sure, you'll never understand the degree of grief they're going through. Just be there for them when they need you to be and allow them to mourn their loss.