It’s hard watching someone you care about experience loss. It’s even harder not knowing what to say or do to help ease their pain. But you don’t have to feel helpless. Here are three ways you can comfort a friend going through grief and loss.
Acknowledge Your Friend and Their Pain
You can’t take away your friend’s pain, but you can let them know that you’re sorry and you care. And while you may not feel like you have the perfect thing to say because you haven’t experienced the specific loss they’re experiencing, your words or actions don’t have to be perfect. All you have to do is show up and show your love. Whether it’s sending a text or dropping off their favorite drink from a soda shop, your friend will appreciate you reaching out and letting them know you love them and are thinking of them.
Part of acknowledging your friend’s loss is accepting how they feel. Don’t try to tell them how to feel; just let them feel. Let your friend know they are free to express their feelings with you without any fear of judgment.
Offer Practical and Specific Ways to Help
Some people who are grieving find it hard to ask for help. They may feel guilty about being a burden to others. They may worry that people will think they’re just trying to get more attention. It may simply be that your friend doesn’t have the energy to call and ask you for help because of their grief. So don’t make them ask. Offer practical and specific ways to help them.
Here are some ways you can offer to help:
- Drop off paper goods (no one has time for dishes when grieving)
- Take them dinner
- Run errands for them
- Watch their kids
- Take their dog on a walk
- Do some of their household chores.
One thing to note: don’t just rush in and start doing these tasks for your friend. Ask them first. Say, “I’m going to the store, what can I pick up for you?” Or instead of picking up those clothes on the floor, ask your friend if she wants you to put them in the washer. She may have purposely left those shirts there because they still smell like her husband.
Send a heartfelt, sympathy gift
If you’re feeling hesitant to pick up the phone right now, it’s OK. Show your support by sending something sincere. Send your friend a thoughtful card. Send them a commemorative necklace so they can always keep their loved one close to their heart. Give them a gift card to their favorite shop or send them a self-care comfort box.
Want some other ideas? Learn more about different gifts to give your bereaved friend through each stage of the grieving process.
And above all else, just remember to be there for your friend. Your love and support, however you choose to give it, will help your friend feel remembered and help nourish their heart during this difficult time.