Almost everyone experiences a time where they need to support a grieving friend. This time can be stressful and uncomfortable for some because people may not know what to say or how to help. Here are some suggestions on how to be there for your friend:
Offer Your Presence and Help: Let your friend know that you’re there for them. Sometimes, just being present and available to listen can make a huge difference. Most grieving people don’t know what they need, so instead of saying “I’m here if you need anything,” offer to help with things such as cooking a meal, running errands, or assisting with household chores.
Be Genuine and Actively Listen: Express your sympathy and let your friend know that you’re sorry for their loss. If your friend wants to talk, listen without judgment or interruption. Sometimes, they just need to share their feelings and memories.
Respect Their Grief: Everyone grieves differently. Some might want to talk about their loved one, while others might need space. Be mindful of their grieving process and don’t push them to open up if they’re not ready.
Be Thoughtful: Sending a heartfelt card, a message, or even a simple text can show your friend that you’re thinking of them and supporting them during this difficult time. Avoiding cliché phrases like “everything happens for a reason” or “they’re in a better place” might not be comforting to everyone. Instead, offer genuine words of support and empathy.
Share Memories: If appropriate, share your own positive memories of the person who passed away. This can help your friend feel that their loved one’s memory lives on.
Offer Distractions: Engage in activities your friend enjoys, whether it’s going for a walk, watching a movie, or playing a game. Distractions can provide temporary relief from the pain.
Check-In Regularly and Acknowledge Special Days: Grief doesn’t have a set timeline. Check in on your friend periodically, even after the initial wave of support has passed. Birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays can be particularly tough. Reach out to your friend on these days to let them know you’re thinking of them.
Recommend Professional Help: If you notice your friend’s grief is taking a toll on their mental health and daily life, gently suggest seeking support from a therapist or counselor.
Support Them Long-Term: Grief doesn’t fade quickly. Continue to support your friend as time goes on, as the pain of loss can resurface at unexpected times.
Remember, the key is to be empathetic, patient, and flexible in your approach. Every person’s grief is unique, so tailor your support to what your friend needs most. If you have a friend struggling with grief, you can also encourage them to participate in a support group sponsored by Wing-Bain Funeral Home.