One thing we can be sure of in life is that death is inevitable. What we can’t be sure of is how to help our friends during their time of grief.
This is when your friends need you the most, whether it is just acknowledging what is happening, knowing the right words to say or what to do to help. Grief doesn’t have a time frame, it will fade but never completely disappear, significant days like anniversaries highlighting the grief they are still feeling. Even though your actions will be done with the best intentions it could end up testing your friendship.
This list is a guide compiled by bereavement associations, psychology, and recommendations from grieving people themselves. The most important advice to heed is that when your friend talks, that’s when you stop and listen.
1. Don’t ignore what’s happening
2. Understand what bereavement means
3. Remember that this is not about you
4. Give specific offers of help
5. Keep the support going after a month
6. Allow them to be broken and vulnerable
7. Stay away from rationalizing or explaining the loss