Words can fail you during a time of loss, even when it is a close friend who is clearly grieving. It feels like anything that you say could potentially cause pain or intensify their feelings of sadness. While there’s always the option to do nothing at all, you want to do something — anything — to help alleviate their suffering. Fortunately, there are some simple ways that you can support a grieving friend.
The good news is that your friend is likely to have grace with you even if you stumble and stutter a bit when you’re trying to bring comfort. While it may be tempting to make general statements about their loved one being “in a better place”, it’s often better to skip this common practice. Let them know that you love them and you are there for them. If you have recently experienced the loss of a loved one, it may be welcomed knowing that you have or may still feel similarly. If you have not been in a similar position, when showing sympathy try to avoid statements like “I understand.” This may cause even a close friend to become defensive or distant. A safer, and honest, alternative is, “I can only imagine.”
Telling your friend, “If you need anything, just ask,” practically guarantees that they will not reach out to you. This often stems from the need to appear strong and in control even when falling apart inside. Instead, look for ways to proactively help your friend or loved one during this time of change and adjustment. That could be anything from organizing a dinner train, picking up a child or walking a dog, or bringing in the mail when you visit. The smallest gesture can mean so much at this time.
Sometimes, all your friend will need is someone who is there to listen. Not talk, not try to solve anything, not even to make them feel better — just to listen. This may be the most difficult recommendation of all because you are going to witness another human in unspeakable pain. Our first inclination is to attempt to make each other feel better. Not surprisingly, your emotions are all over the place when you’ve lost someone close to you and can fluctuate between sadness, shock, fear, and even anger. Don’t judge, just listen.
Facing loss is difficult, but when you have friends by your side who are willing and able to listen and support you, the burden can be shared. See how our caring and compassionate team at Mountain View Funeral Home and Cemetery can help you through this difficult time with ways to personalize funeral service arrangements for your unique needs. Call us at 480-832-2850 or send us an email to [email protected].