30 Apr 7 Ways to Support a Grieving Friend
If you have a friend who is grieving, it can be challenging trying to figure out how to act around them. What if they don’t want to talk about it or what if they do, and you just don’t know how to react. If you’ve never experienced grief, you may feel unprepared for what to say or do. Your comfort and support can make a huge difference to your grieving friend. You can’t take away the pain of their loss, but you can show them how much you care and help them through this difficult time.
Here are 7 ways to help support a grieving friend.
Nothing you say can make it all better so just give them the space to express themselves and feel heard. Listening is a wonderful gift to give during this time. It’s especially helpful when you don’t quite have the words, but your friend will appreciate that you allowed them to unleash their grief. They may be sad or angry and it will change from one conversation to the next. Just be there for them, and let them know that they can always talk to you.
- Just do it.
Don’t leave it at, “call me if you need me” because your friend may feel bad reaching out. So, just do something. That “something” can include things like:
- Share a personal story with them about your experience with their loved one
- Provide home cooked meals
- Give them a remembrance item of their loved one that they will treasure
- Deliver a box with self-care items of their favorite brands
- Shop for groceries
- Pick the kids up from school
- Help with yardwork or mow the lawn
- Clean their house
- Go for a walk with them
- Let them know about bereavement groups available
- Gift cards to restaurants
When you’re grieving you often don’t want to spend energy on cooking, but may have a family or kids to feed. Having a reason to go out to eat or bring in meals can be a wonderful gift that eases your friend’s burdens. It also allows them to get out of the house which may be a hard place for them to be all the time, especially if their loved one lived with them.
- Paper goods
These are essential to any household! Make a trip for toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, food wrap and storage bags, and more. Paper plates and bowls could be especially handy, so your friend doesn’t have to do dishes. Also, going to the store for household basics might be too overwhelming for your friend right now and this could provide a great relief for them.
- Gift cards for self-care
Sometimes the greatest gifts aren’t practical gifts but ones that allow us to pamper ourselves. This could include a gift card to your friend’s favorite hair salon, masseuse, or clothing outlet. They might not use it right away but eventually they will and appreciate it even more.
- Helping with the kids
Offer to take their children out for the afternoon or evening. It can give them a break from caring for others while allowing the kids to escape their home and grief for a little while. Do something fun like a bike ride, see a movie, go to a theme park or visit a museum of interest. Kids may also need someone to talk to about their feelings and about how their parent may be dealing with the loss. Talking to someone other than a mom or dad can be a great relief to children.
- Check in often
Set yourself a reminder to text, call or email your grieving friend on a regular basis. Your friend may not have the energy to reply but they will appreciate that someone cares and is thinking of them. Often, once a funeral is over people can forget a person is still grieving for months, or even years. So be sure to touch base with your friend for a long while, especially on anniversaries or holidays. You could even help them create new holiday memories that honor their loved one.
Helping a friend through a grieving period can be hard, but don’t let fears about saying or doing the wrong thing stop you from reaching out. Understand that everyone grieves in their own way and for different lengths of time. Let your friend know that you’re there to listen and be there for them long after the funeral.