After the flurry of activities calms down and everybody returns to their regular daily routines, the magnitude of the loss starts to set in. This can be one of the worst times for the bereaved, and it is when friends are needed the most. Here are five steps to help a grieving friend over time.

 

A real friend is one who walks in

when the rest of the world walks out.

Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.

Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.

Walk beside me and be my friend.

Charles Caleb Colton

 

After the flurry of activities calms down and everybody returns to their regular daily routines, the magnitude of the loss starts to set in. This can be one of the worst times for the bereaved, and it is when friends are needed the most. Here are five steps to help a grieving friend over time.

1. Listen

This is the most important way you can help your friend. Just listen…don’t offer suggestions, advice or solutions. By freely giving a sympathetic ear, this allows your friend to feel safe to express his or her feelings. Learn to be comfortable with shared silence too.

2. Reminisce

Reminisce with your friend about his or her loved one’s life. Sharing fond memories is a wonderful way to provide comfort. Remember, talking about the deceased will not hurt or upset the bereaved. In fact, it is just the opposite. Your friend will appreciate that you haven’t forgotten about his or her loved one, especially as time goes on.

3. Check in Regularly

This simple act will show you care, as well as make your friend more comfortable and secure. This is especially important in the first year after the loss, as your friend gradually adjusts to not having the physical presence of their loved one.

4. Learn about Grief

To understand what your friend is going through, do your best to learn about loss. By having an understanding of the grief process, you can offer more sensitive care and compassion.

5. Remember

Honor special dates including the date of death, birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, which may be especially hard on the bereaved. Your support will be needed and welcomed, especially on these days.

 

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