5 Ways to Help a Grieving Friend & show them your love, support, & friendship.
I’m not really sure why I decided to write this post about how to help a friend who is grieving, but one thing led to another & I felt God calling me to write on this tender subject. I guess it all began when my husband picked up a magazine at my parent’s house over the holidays. It was one advertising cruises around the world so he was naturally interested. When he turned it over he noticed that it was addressed to Gloria, my Oma, who passed away 5 years ago this summer. (My parents randomly began receiving mail again for them at the end of the year.)
I remember when my father’s parents passed away very well. It is impossible to forget.
My Opa passed away a week after my 20th birthday. I spent that week driving my Oma 45 minutes to the hospital & 45 minutes back all week, while attending classes, & taking college midterms. My Oma had dementia & I spent those drives memorizing a poem (slightly dangerous) & repeatedly answering her repetitive questions. Right after my Opa passed away I drove my Oma from the hospital to my aunt’s house, less than 10 minutes away. This was the hardest & most heartbreaking day of my life. During that very short drive, my Oma continuously asked when my Opa would be well enough to leave the hospital. And we both sobbed together as I shared the truth (for what felt like the first time to her) more times than I would like to count or remember. The sound of her sorrow will be with me forever.
I cannot begin to express the love & gratitude I felt for my aunt when we arrived at her house. While I tried to support my father during this painful time, I greatly depended on my aunt (my mom & sister were on a mission trip in another country) for support.
My Oma & I became closer than ever over the next year, although I know she doesn’t know this as her dementia grew increasingly quick. And as my husband & I waited to go through customs, on our way back from our honeymoon, I checked my voicemail only to discover that my Oma had passed away as well, just a few days after Roger and I got married.
Both times I looked to family & friends for comfort & support. With God, family, & friends the healing process was filled with love, hope, & peace.
Here are 5 Ways to Help a Grieving Friend.
While unseen, it is the most essential & real way you can help your friend. Saying you will pray for your friend & their family is wonderful, but stopping what you are doing, wherever you are (even while on the phone or in the grocery store) to say a prayer of love, peace, & encouragement to that friend can have a very meaningful impact that can bless them (& you) in powerful ways.
Pray for them, their family, their friends. Pray for peace. Pray for united love. Pray for guidance in the future. Praise God for the gift of salvation
Cooking is the last thing on people’s mind at this time, but realistically it often is a source of comfort. Create a special dish, a meal, have a restaurant deliver, send them groceries. If you don’t know them well, seek out someone who does & make their favorite dish. If you know they are being inundated with food, wait a few days or a week so that the food support is spread out.
3. Physical Help
This can be a huge help & accomplished in a variety of ways. The ideas & opportunities are as wide as your imagination. You could mow their lawn, clean their house, take care of their dry cleaning, grocery shop, etc. If they have children, offer to watch them during the day, or in the evenings, during the funeral, or when they are grieving with their family & friends. You know your friend uniquely & know how to make this time of pain a little less stressful by helping them with the everyday tasks of daily life.
Sometimes all a friend needs is someone to simply listen to them. On the phone, at their house, anywhere that makes them comfortable & relaxed.
5. Make Reminders for Yourself
Holidays, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, & anniversaries of the passing can be very emotional times for your friend. Something as simple as making a little note on your calendar to remind yourself of these dates can be a wonderful way to support your friend. When those dates arrive you can let your friend know you are praying for them, send them flowers, or a card. Let them know that they are important to you by showing them you haven’t forgotten.
In what ways has a friend helped you through the grieving process?
I’d love to hear from you!
Feel free to comment below, email me, or tweet me on Twitter.
With love, G
Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’