It’s Hard When A Friend is Grieving…How Can You Help?

Young woman and older woman putting Christmas ornaments together

Any time someone we love has lost someone they love, it is hard to watch them grieve. Often we feel helpless in our ability to ease their pain and wonder how we can best bring them comfort. During a season with such a focus on joy, this can be even more difficult. So how can you help? Here are some ways to give support during the holidays:

  1. Help them with holiday tasks. Shopping, baking, decorating and even writing and sending cards may go a lot easier for your friend if you are by their side. This can ease feelings of loneliness or overwhelming memories of doing these things with their departed loved one.
  2. Invite your friend to volunteer or attend a special event with you. Distractions and spending time with friends and family will go a long way. Choosing something that has a purpose may provide a sense of giving that adds joy to their day. If they choose not to attend, try gentle encouragement, but don’t pressure them into doing something that they truly don’t want to do.
  3. Don’t be afraid to talk about their loved one. So many times people are afraid to bring up the name of those who have passed thinking that it will only bring sadness. But this may be the perfect time to talk about all the lovely memories they have shared. This is a reminder that the special person they have lost has not been forgotten.
  4. Stay in touch. A quick phone call, text or visit can mean so much to someone who is struggling just to get through the day, especially if they are alone for the first time in many years. Let them know they are in your thoughts and be willing to listen if they want to talk. This is what true friendship is all about, being there when times are hard.

Be gentle, caring and understanding. Your friend or family member will let you know how you best can help by the way the manner in which they react to your support. Don’t be afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. Just knowing you care will help them greatly as they make their way through the holidays and the grieving process.