Losing a loved one is always a devastating experience. Whether it’s sudden or expected, the death of someone close to us can leave us feeling lost, confused, and alone. If you’ve ever experienced the loss of a loved one, then you know how hard it can be to cope with your grief. And if you haven’t, you may be wondering what you can do to help a friend who is grieving.
There are no easy answers, but there are some things that can help. First, remember that everyone grieves in their own way and at their own pace. There is no “right” way to grieve, so don’t try to force people into a mold. Second, offer your support and assistance, but don’t be pushy or intrusive. Let your friend know that you’re there for them, but respect their need for privacy and space. Lastly, be patient and understanding. Grief can be a long and painful process, so don’t expect your friend to “get over it” quickly. They will need time to heal, so give them the space and support they need.
And while digital communication has its perks—you can easily make a phone call, or send a text message—consider sending a small gift or gesture of support. A hand-written note or a basket of groceries can show that you’re there for them in a practical way. Whatever you do, take care to avoid platitudes or empty phrases. In times of grief or pain, sincerity is always the best policy.
Here are some ideas for how you can reach out with words of sympathy:
- Express your condolences with a handwritten note. This is a thoughtful way to let your loved ones know that you are thinking of them during this difficult time.
- Make a phone call to check in and see how they are doing. This act of kindness will mean a lot to them.
- If you are able, and they are willing to welcome visitors, stop by in person to offer your support. Spending time with them will help them to feel better during this tough time.
- Send a care package filled with items that will make your loved ones feel better, such as favorite foods, cozy blankets, or scented candles.
- Offer to help out with practical tasks, such as running errands or taking care of their pets or children. This will take some of the load off of your loved ones during this difficult time.
If you’re looking for guidance on how to support a grieving friend or how to cope with your own grief, seeking out a variety of reading material can be helpful. Here are a few of our top reads from Amazon to deal with grief and bereavement
- It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand by Megan Devine.
- F*ck Death; Healing Mental Health Journal for Adults After the Loss of a Loved One by Steve Case.
- How I Feel: Grief Journal for Kids: Guided Prompts to Explore Your Feelings and Find Peace by Mia Roldan.