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HELPING A ROOMMATE DEAL WITH A DEATH

Many of us are fortunate not to have lost someone close to us. However, many are not so lucky. If your roommate has just lost a loved one or good friend in any type of fatal accident, then you can expect them to be upset. Everyone handles death in a different way and there is no right or wrong process of grieving. However, as your roommate you need to give them space, let them grieve and ensure that you are there for them as much as possible.

Grieving Through a Death

You may find that after the death your roommate is not the same. She may throw herself into work and activities and it may seem like she is going to collapse one day due to exhaustion. Or, you may find that your roommate doesn't leave the couch, doesn't go to work and cries herself to sleep for days, if not weeks. So what do you do? In any instance - you be there, don't ask your roommate to move out.

If you do find that your roommate is coping by pretending the situation didn't happen, then let them. However, try to also let them know its okay to show emotion, to cry and to talk about it. Many people would prefer to let time pass and try to heal the wounds and they may not want to talk about it for weeks. Instead they will stay busy in other ways to avoid any silences where sadness may creep in.

Eventually your roommate is going to need a break and you need to be there when she does. While she is running around like a mad man, offer to do activities with her that may slow her down such as watching a movie or going out for dinner. You don't have to bring the death up unless she does and you don't have to do anything differently. Just be her friend.

Roommate Warning Signs

If your roommate is having a hard time getting past this and seems to be falling into a state of depression, then you also need to be there for her. Offer to help her with things; ask her out with you; see if she wants to go for a walk, to hit the mall, to go for dinner. Even if she says no 50 times, she might one day say yes and this is a big step. However, she needs you to still be there to offer and to not give up on her.

In some instances the grieving turns into an obsession or a disease. If you do notice that time doesn't seem to be healing all wounds then it might be time to talk to someone else about the problem. Of course, your roommate is not going to agree to see a therapist under your recommendation but you might want to contact her parents or close relatives and see what they suggest.

Helping a roommate deal with a death can be hard on you too. You may not know how to act in front of you anymore and you may not know how to react to her odd sense of humor and jokes about her loved one's death. Let your roommate handle it in her personal way but keep a watchful eye on her and always be there just in case. Don't shy away from her just because she seems different or because it may be awkward. Helping a roommate deal with a death is not going to be smooth sailing but it can be conquered with persistence and patience.

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