Helping a Friend through Grief

By: Betty Dangler, Certified Grief Recovery Specialist
Wednesday, February 28, 2018

~~Helping a Friend through Grief
Have you ever felt at a loss for words when trying to help a friend who has suffered a loss?  Words seem so inadequate. Please know that a friend is so valuable in a grieving individual’s life. You can help your friend more than you know.
 Talk to your friend about their loss.  Talking about the death will be important to your friend. Do not be afraid to talk openly about the person. Listen and be non-judgmental.

 Give options on how you can help. People in grief cannot think clearly. Instead of asking “how can I help you? “, give specific things that you would like to do. For instance, “Can I go food shopping? Can I pick people up at the airport? Can I take care of the children?”

 Make outreaches to your friend. There is no timeline for how long a person grieves. Everyone is different. Continue to reach out to your friend. After the funeral, everyone is back to their own schedules and the person grieving is forgotten. So stay in contact.

 Remember anniversaries. Remember to reach out to your friend on birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and any other special date that was important to your friend.  These are particular difficult times for the griever.

 Spend time with your friend. Most likely, your friend will not call you. Grieving people don’t have the energy nor do they not want to be a bother. Take the initiative to spend time with your friend.

 Know that your friend is going to change. Death and grief changes a person. Their world as they knew it has been changed forever. Do not be surprised when you start to sense these changes.

 Be an exercise buddy. Offer to start exercising with your friend. Even going on a walk once a week may give you a chance to spend some quality time with your friend. Exercise helps the grieving process.

 Do special things. A few weeks after the death and funeral, surprise your friend with a special card, make a meal, or invite your friend to go for coffee or for lunch.

 Let them cry. Crying is a natural part of grieving. It makes most people uncomfortable and they do not know what to do. Let your friend cry. You just listen. Crying helps to make the person feel better and relieves some of the stress.

These are just some suggestions for you to help your grieving friend. The grieving process is a journey. As a friend, be patient with your friend and with yourself as you try to figure out how you can best help your friend.


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