Although we want our lives to be happy and peaceful all the time, it is unavoidable that we experience things that bring us grief - a family tragedy, an accident, or the loss of a loved one. People deal with grief in different ways, but one thing is for sure, we don't want to be alone when we are grieving. The support of our family and friends is always welcome and needed. How do you support a friend who is grieving?
- First, just let her know that you're there. It could be through a phone call or a simple text message. The best way to make her feel your presence is to visit her in her house. Try not to be intrusive when you do this, the last thing you would want to do is make her even more bothered. Besides, she might want her personal space right now. If she's not ready to share her feelings with you, then just let her know she can call you up anytime.
- Give her a hug. A hug might be a simple and very inexpensive gesture, but it brings a lot of comfort. There are many things a hug can convey which words cannot even express.
- When she's ready to talk, listen and listen well. Do not make the mistake of telling her that you know exactly what she's going through, because the truth is, you don't. You might have suffered the same kind of loss before, but no two experiences are ever the same, and no two people feel the same intensity of emotions. Just listen, and when you feel like she's ready for your advice, then give it.
- Be patient. You have to accept it if it seems that she's not listening to you at all, it may take some time before her mind actually starts absorbing the whole picture, given the grief that she's going through. You might have to repeat some things again and again.
- Help her with the household chores. She might not have the emotional strength to finish all that has to be done around the house, so an extra hand will surely help. While you're doing the chores for her, engage her in conversation and ask her what needs to be finished, even though you might already know these things. She needs something to preoccupy her mind, and giving instructions to you is one way of keeping busy.
- Invite her to go out with you. It could be for a cup of coffee, a necessary trip to the supermarket, or a short walk around the neighborhood. If she has dogs, tell her that they need to be walked. Suggest activities that would make her want to go out of the house, even for just a short period of time.
- If she doesn't want to go out at all, then order some pizza and put a feel-good movie on. Invite some of your other friends. She might not be in the mood for watching, but at least she'll have some company.
- You can leave short notes for her on the fridge, or on her desk at the office. Write words of comfort for her, as these will surely make her smile. It will also remind her that there are a lot of people who care for her, and that it's not the end of the world.
The best way to support a friend who is grieving is to put yourself in her shoes and think of how you will want to be comforted. By doing this, you can think of a variety of other ways to support your friend.