Last month my grandfather passed away, and my world became consumed with grief. I was prepared to grieve alone, but surprisingly, many people around me helped me feel a little less alone during my grief. It can be hard to know how to effectively reach out to someone in grief, so I began to note some things my friends did to make me feel supported. Everyone grieves differently; this list by no means is the cure-all for supporting a grieving friend.
1. Check on them
Commenting “sorry for your loss” on your pal’s social media posts is so appreciated. But sometimes, going the extra mile and sending them a text or personal message to see how they’re doing can be a shining light in a dark tunnel for someone who is grieving.
2. Listen to them
It’s not easy finding the right words to say to a friend who lost a loved one. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to listen to what they’re feeling, within in reason, of course.
3. Encourage them to think about the good times they shared with their loved ones.
When a friend checked in on me a few days after my grandpa’s passing, she asked if I could tell her about my favorite memory about my grandpa. Just thinking back on my memories made me feel a little better.
4. Offer to help them with an errand or buy a meal for them.
I only recommend doing this for someone you’re really close with. During the first few days to a week after losing someone, it can be hard to get things taken care of, and having someone to help out is a lifesaver.
5. Give them space.
I cannot stress this enough; everyone grieves differently. While you may mean well, some people become overwhelmed with condolences. The only thing you can do is let them know you care and give them space.
For me, having people around meant so much, and I don’t think I would have been able to get through February without support. Not all of the tips will work for everyone, but I hope they can inspire someone to think of ways to support a friend going through a loss.