A good friend of mine has lost a loved one, should I call or visit right away?
- Yes. Calling to ask what help is needed is a great way to show sympathy to your friend. Necessary help isn’t always available when it is needed. Visits to the home are usually welcomed if you are close to the bereaved. Call first to inform them of your visit.
- Grief is a very painful and emotionally draining experience. Words cannot make it better. It is best to help the grieving with support, love and sympathy.
I wasn’t able to go to the funeral or respond right away, is it too late to offer my condolences?
- It is never too late to share your sympathy. Often, the time after the funeral service is filled with family and friends offering sympathy and love, but as time goes on, the help dwindles. It is never to late to show that you care.
When will my friend get over the grief and go back to her old self?
- Grief doesn’t have a time line. It is a process that can last years, with ups and downs. It is normal for the grieved to go through stages of fear, shock, pain, anger, guilt, denial, loneliness acceptance and finally recovery. But it takes time and patience. As a friend, the most important thing you can do is be there for them, through their ups and downs.
I feel uncomfortable around my grieving friend. I am trying not to avoid her, but sometimes I feel it’s best. What should I do?
- Avoiding your friend only adds to their pain. And, can make them feel even worse. Don’t pity your friend, treat them like you normally do. If you can’t find the right words, be open about it and tell them honestly. Sharing a coffee break or a lunch will be a good way to sit and talk about everything. Once everything is out in the open, your feelings will be easier to express.
It has been a while and my friend is still not back to normal. What can I do to help?
- Support. Support. Support. Grieving can be very lonely. Offer support groups in the area, ask others you know to help with support and friendship. Watch for signs of depression. If you think your friend needs counseling, offer help in finding the right professional help for them.
My friend has been labeled as having unresolved grief. What does that mean?
- Unresolved grief is a situation when a grieving person is unable to move through the stages of grief, when they are ‘stuck’ in the process and will not accept their loss. They lose all sight and sense of joy and a future.
The grieving process typically takes up to three years before the grieving person takes their lives back into their own hands and accepts their loss. Prolonged grief for several more years indicates unresolved grief calling for professional help.
The Do’s and Don’ts when dealing with grief
- Do Listen to your friend. No matter how long they talk or repeat themselves, just listen.
- Do allow your friend to grieve and accept that the process is long and emotionally draining.
- Do show that you care.
- Do offer prayers and emotional help.
- Do be yourself around your friend.
- Do be patient.
- Do allow anger – Your friend might go through a phase of anger, be patient and remember that they aren’t angry at you.
- Do watch for signs of depression.
- Do visit and call often.
- Don’t avoid contact with your friend.
- Don’t pity your friend.
- Don’t repeat gossip or talk behind your friends back.
- Don’t try to fix things with words.
- Don’t pry for details about their loss.
- Don’t tell your friend that it happens all the time and you know how they feel.
- Don’t encourage a drastic change immediately, to get their mind off of the situation. Grief has to be acknowledged.