Death is one of those unfortunate parts of life that is impossible to avoid and hard to deal with. If you know someone who has recently lost someone who was near and dear to them, you might be wondering how to best approach the situation and give them the most comfort possible during this heart-wrenching time. From providing food to handling funeral service questions, there are a variety of ways you can be there for your friend.
Be a Good Listener
Death is hard to wrap our minds around, and as such, there tend to be many questions and musings on the subject when someone close to us passes away. As your friend begins to grieve, they may have questions that you can’t answer. That’s okay. Sometimes there isn’t an answer, there isn’t a way to rationalize what’s happened. The best thing you can do in these cases is simply listen and take in their pain, providing a shoulder to lean on. Sometimes, saying too much in times of emotional strife can have the opposite effect of intended comforting; trying to rationalize a death can feel like you’re invalidating your friend’s pain, even if that’s not your intention. It’s okay to say “I’m not sure what to say, but I’m here for you on matter what”.
Funeral Planning and Costs
Those without burial insurance or a savings account for burial expenses will see their family and friends dealing with a great deal of often unexpected expenses. In 2015, funeral costs in North America were estimated to cost on average between $7,000 and $10,000. Funerals can be extremely costly, and if your friend is struggling to come up with the funds to handle everything that goes into a burial, cremation, or memorial service, do what you can to help them raise the funds. It could be something as simple as having a car wash with proceeds going to the cost of the funeral, or you may find success with setting up a fundraiser on GoFundMe that can be easily shared on social media. This way, friends and family members looking for ways to show their support can donate and ensure your friend’s loved one has the service they deserve.
Handle the Daily Details
Everyone grieves differently, and if your friend is finding it hard to keep up with their daily tasks, take it upon yourself to handle the nitty-gritty. If they have children, offer to shuttle them to and from school and to any extracurricular activities they may take part in. Head to the grocery store and stock them up on the basics at the beginning of each week, and take it upon yourself to prepare lunches for the kids and freezable dinners for the evenings. Small gestures like this will be more appreciated than you know, and will take a great deal of stress off of your friend’s shoulders. If you can’t deliver meals yourself because of work and family constraints, consider having deliveries dropped off through UberEats, or set up the family with a month’s worth of a grocery subscription.
The shock of someone passing will see an outpouring of love and condolences for your friend, but as life continues, days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months,those offers of help and calls will slowly wane to a trickle. Make sure you remain consistent with your support far beyond the time when others’ support lessens. Depending on the relationship and your friend’s grieving process, they could be facing many difficult months and even years ahead, and being there with them every step of the way is the best way to be there for a friend who has lost a loved one.
While everyone handles their grief differently, these tips will definitely provide a pillar of necessary support to a friend who has recently lost someone special to them. If you know someone who’s dealing with the death of a loved one, be sure to provide support in all the ways you know how and keep these tips in mind as you help them navigate the days and weeks following a loved one’s passing.