It’s hard to know how to support a friend who has lost a loved one. At times you become afraid of saying something wrong and end up saying nothing at all as we sympathize in our hearts and minds. In essence, the choice to remain quite only pushes the bereaved friend to a state of self-isolation and loneliness.
It’s normal to have unrealistic expectations of how the bereaved friend will sail through the moment of grief and return to a state of normalcy in their day-to-day life if you’ve never experienced the death of a friend or keen.
Here’s how to support a friend who has lost a loved one:
Your presence could be the greatest gift any time you want to support a friend who has lost a loved one. To be present means going beyond the vague and non-comital sentiments like “just call me when you need anything”. Practically speaking, this is the last statement an individual will utter before going MIA.
Here’s how to be present:
- Show up physically at the friend’s house
- Check out on your friend on a regular basis through texts and calls
- Share a meal with the bereaved friend
- Just call to talk
Take time to listen to what your friend is saying. Talk less when the bereaved friend initiates a conversation. Don’t take a problem-solving attitude any time you want to support a friend who has lost a loved one as this may not solve the situation at hand. Just give them time to express their views as you listen without interjecting.
Organize for a meal
You may organize for a meal to support a friend who has lost a loved one. Take time to prepare one of your home-made delicacies and deliver it to the friend’s house. Inform the bereaved friend that you will be passing by then drop the food and leave.
Being available for services and meetings
The bereaved family will organize for visitations, services and the funeral. Show your support by being available for these key meetings. Visitations are special moments where people gather to express their condolences to the bereaved family. This could be the time when your friend will need your support the most. Be there for a few minutes and interact with your friend. Try your best to set aside a few hours to attend the funeral.
Help the bereaved friend take a break
Taking a break could be a great way to support a friend who has lost a loved one as it will act as a positive distraction. However, you must ensure that you don’t push the bereaved friend to forget the loss or move on particularly in the early days. Here’re the things you could do to distract a friend who has lost a loved one:
- Bring a few moments of laughter
- Accompany them to a party
- Share the most encouraging moments about the departed soul
- Take them to recreational outings like movies
- Go out for a meal