When your friend faces the passing of a loved one, the value of your friendship is more precious than ever. They will rely on you for the support that they need—both emotionally and rationally. In this situation, you may feel perplexed as to what is appropriate for you to do. Fortunately, there are many things a friend can do to help. Below is a list of a few ways you can aid your friend as they grieve for their loved one:
1. Be Present with Them in Their Grief.
Your friend will likely be overcome with depression after they hear the news of a loved one’s passing. During this time of grief, it is important to show compassion through listening. Let them speak without interruption. They may cry, yell, or remain silent. Allowing them to express themselves in their own way allows them to relieve some of the grief they have been carrying. When they are overcome in mourning, they will likely not respond to rationalization or instruction. The best thing to do is to tell them that you are with them and that you will get through this together as a team. You may not be able to guarantee that everything will be okay, but your presence shows a great deal of compassion that can help them in the healing process.
2. Go Out of Your Way.
One of the best ways you can show love is in the act of doing. Going out of your way for a friend can relieve some of the burden of stress in their life. Although you may feel the need to ask them what they need help with, trying to compose an additional list of tasks to be done can overwhelm them, or they may feel as if they are burdening you with their requests. Instead of asking, “What can I do for you?” try observing for yourself what they need and take care of it yourself. If you stop by and you see that they have a dirty kitchen, insist on helping to clean it. Or, maybe they do not have time to get groceries, in which case you can go by a grocery store and get them food for the week. By doing so, you are giving them one less thing to worry and stress about. They are likely overwhelmed with the emotions and logistics that follow the death of a loved one. Relieving their anxiety in small ways can significantly aid in their well being.
3. Assist Them When Needed.
Money is often a contributor to stress in the death of a loved one. It may be useful for you to do research on funeral financing if they are having difficulty navigating the process. According to the Federal Fair Trade Commission, funerals can cost up to $8000 or more. If your friend is involved in the financial responsibilities of the funeral, he or she might want to consider the different paths they can follow. Burial insurance, for instance, can be invested in early on to guarantee that financial needs are met. Life insurance can also help, but your friend should investigate the loved one’s policy in order to ascertain whether the policy will pay out in due time. If they look to you for help, inform him or her of these options.
4. Allow Them to Come to You.
During the mourning process, avoid the temptation to be smothering. You may have the bests intentions, but it will not help them and may even make them more upset. Instead, treat them as normally as possible. You cannot expect them to be as cheerful as you would like, but you can let them experience consistency around you. While they endure the turbulent emotions of grief, you can remain steady, which will draw them to you for support. The goal of the mourning process is ultimately to return to a sense of normalcy. You may not be able to undo the tragedy that has occurred in their life, but weathering the storm with them as they allow it shows an act of compassion that is critical to their healing.