A friend has experienced the death of someone loved. You want to help, but you are not sure how to go about it. This article will guide you in ways to turn your cares and concerns into positive actions.
Acknowledge the loss and don’t avoid contact. It’s understandable to feel uncomfortable speaking about death or other losses, or to worry that you might say the wrong thing but staying silent or not contacting somebody after their bereavement can often make feelings of isolation and sadness worse. Reaching out to the bereaved person so that they know you are available to talk and listen if they would like to can be incredibly helpful.
Consider how best to be in contact. There are different ways to grieve and there are different ways to communicate after a loss too. Receiving text messages may be easier for somebody to manage than returning calls. Dropping in to see them in person may be welcome for some but may be an inconvenience for others. It is worth asking the person what they’d prefer rather than making assumptions.
Give them space. Not wanting to spend lots of time with other people or feeling guilty at not acknowledging messages could be an additional burden for a grieving person, so it can be worth letting them know they can respond whenever they feel able, or simply send them a message to let them know you are thinking of them and that no response is needed. Adapting to life after a loss can take a long time and people should be allowed the space to process their emotions for as long as they need. It is useful if you can strike a balance between contacting them so that they do not feel isolated but also giving them space. Again, asking them what they need is a good idea.