Knowing the right words to say after a friend has suffered a loss can be challenging. Although you want to be there for him or her, you can feel helpless because you do not know how to help. If you have a friend struggling with loss, here are some ways you can help him or her cope.
Recognize You Cannot Fix the Situation
For many people, when someone they love is suffering, their first reaction is to look for a way to fix the problem causing the pain. However, grief cannot be "fixed." It is an emotion that will take time for your loved one to manage. Your attempts to fix him or her could result in feelings of resentment and anger and lead to isolation.
Be a Good Listener
One of the most important ways in which you can help your friend is to be a good listener. He or she might want to just talk about the loss or how it has impacted his or her life. Do not attempt to steer the conversation in one way or another. If you believe that your friend is in need of more professional help, recommend that he or she see a grief counselor. The counselor cannot only be instrumental in helping your friend learn how to cope, but he or she can provide advice to help you assist your friend.
Offer to Help With Daily Living Tasks
While dealing with grief, your friend might have trouble with keeping up with daily living tasks. You can help ease some of his or her emotional stress by offering to do some of those tasks for him or her. For instance, you can offer to buy groceries or babysit his or her children. If your friend is reluctant to accept help, assure him or her that you want to be there for him or her.
Be Available on Special Days
Even if your friend seems as if he or she has moved forward, the pain of losing someone never fully goes away. Special days, such as holidays and birthdays, can be particularly difficult for surviving family and friends. Whenever you are aware that a special day is approaching, let your friend know you are there for them. Try to plan special ways to remember the deceased. For instance, you and your friend could release balloons on the day of the loss.
A grief counselor, such as one connected to a funeral home like Brown Funeral Home, can help you and your friend find other ways for him or her to manage the emotions he or she is feeling.