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When a friend reaches out to you to share the devasting news that someone they care for has died, it can be hard to know how to react. Death is difficult to deal with; even when you might not be directly affected by the loss, it’s still upsetting to see a person you love going through something so heartbreaking. All you can do is be supportive throughout their mourning period, but if you haven’t found yourself in this situation before, it can be overwhelming. Below are some suggestions that you might find useful when your friend is grieving and needs your help.
1. Ask Them If There Is Anything You Can Do
You can’t erase the death of their loved one, but offering to help them out during this time will be appreciated and is a good indicator that you are there for them. This could be anything from helping with funeral arrangements, babysitting the kids, cooking them dinner, shopping for them, or whatever it is that they need from you right now. They might not take you up on this offer at all, but just the knowledge that they can turn to you if they need to will be some relief and comfort to them.
2. Send Them A Sympathy Gift
Another way you can show them that they are in your thoughts is by sending them a sympathy card and gift. Many people might choose to send flowers when there is a death, and while this is a lovely gesture, there are better gifts to send that might be more useful. This great post about sympathy gifts from Laurelbox can provide more details into what would be ideal for someone who is mourning if you need some inspiration.
3. Try Not To Smother Them
It can be tempting to flock around a grieving loved one, but making too much fuss can sometimes be counter-productive. Everyone mourns in different ways, and it can be both physically and emotionally exhausting. Sometimes your friend might need some time alone to regroup and rest, so make sure that you are not smothering them during their grief period so that they have time to process it. Calling them once a day is fine to check in, or send a text message asking if they would like to see you or talk on the phone so they have the option. This way, you are making it clear you are there with them but leaving it up to them whether or not they need some alone time.
4. Try To Find Little Distractions
Grief can be all-consuming, and while their loss will dominate their lives for some time, it’s still important to have small distractions that can give them some respite. This could be something as simple as carrying out basic household tasks like cleaning or going to get coffee with friends. They might enjoy a hobby that you can do with them one afternoon as a way to socialize and focus on something else.
If you are worried about a friend who is grieving and you want to be there for them, use the suggestions above to help you find the right balance and let them know you care.