How to Support Your Friend in Grief
The death of a loved one can impact a person for a long time. After the funeral where people share their condolences, family members of the deceased are left alone with their grief. As a rule, friends disappear during this period. They don’t go because they don’t care; they just don’t know how to help someone who is experiencing a loss. If you want to support your friend through grief, there are some simple rules to follow.
1. Just stay close.
In our culture, grief is deeply intimate. People often stay away, not wanting to intrude on the grieving person. Someone in the acute phase of loss is detached from the surrounding reality. He forgets basic things such as eating, sleeping, keeping his appearance, taking care of pets, etc. Even if you say, “Call me if you need help,” he will not call.
If your close friend is experiencing this type of grief, take care of him for a while. Become a guide for him to the outside world and help with his daily needs. Walk his dog, help around the house, bring food. Be near when he cries or wants to speak out. Such care is really what he needs when his whole world has collapsed. He needs to understand how to live on.
2. Do not use platitudes about the deceased.
Such as “His is in a better place now” or “he has completed his mission here on earth”. These phrases offer no comfort. They are white noise among a thousand similar phrases that your friend hears while grieving. Instead, use more valuable words, such as “I know it hurts to breathe. I am here for you.”
3. Do not promise that everything will be fine or that the pain will go away and life will improve.
Grief changes a person forever. His life will never be the same as it was before. Your words will sound like mocking to a grieving friend.
A person experiencing acute grief just needs support. Your support will help your friend from drowning in the waves of despair and help him learn to live on. If you become such support for him, he will be grateful and will remember it for the rest of his life.