COVID-19 has claimed almost 375,000 lives here in the U.S. and touched the lives of millions. That means even if you have not lost a loved one to the virus, someone close to you probably has. What can you do to help when a friend has suffered such a loss? Our Livermore mortuary and crematory takes a look at the ways you can help a grieving friend.
How Do I Console a Grieving Friend?
- Say Something. Human beings are very social creatures. We often thrive off of our contact with others. So, avoiding someone due to their loss or because you are afraid of saying the wrong thing can do more harm than good. Head to social media and leave a comment, send a text or call. The act of reaching out can be just as meaningful as what you have to say to that individual. In a New York Times Op-ed, Jocelyn DeGroot points out that in many cases, those grieving look at their social media to see how much support they have, not to see what people have to say. So say something and show that you support that individual.
- Be There. As we said before, do not be afraid to reach out. Even if your grieving friend does not wish to see or talk to anyone right now, let them know you are available. Have you been avoiding them? Do not let your insecurities cause your friend pain. Reach out and apologize for being out of touch. Make the effort and your caring will show through.
- Help Out. Often, we all have problems reaching out for the help we need. This is why it may not be enough to merely offer help to a grieving friend. Sometimes action speaks volumes. Order your friend’s favorite meal, organize a meal train or send flowers. What sort of help would your friend most appreciate? Even though we are socially distanced, there are still ways to help. Encourage other friends to support them, organize a tribute to their lost loved one, send flowers and a card. But do not get carried away. Respect your friend’s space and feel out what would be the most appropriate way to help.
- Do Not Try to Fix Things. Sometimes, we get wrapped up in trying to make things better. When this happens, we can lose sight of the person we are helping and their emotional needs. When your grieving friend comes to you saying how they “do not know what to do” or “how will they get along without…” do not try to give them answers. It often is not our place to tell them what to do with their lives, and they may not be looking for such guidance. Instead, try to acknowledge the pain and difficulty they are expressing. “Yes, this is a tough time.”; “You loved her, and that’s going to make it rough.” Listen to your friend and validate their feelings.
We are all facing difficult times right now, so it may be hard to help a friend or family member. If you are having difficulty, remember that there are many resources out there that can help. Here at Callaghan Mortuary & Livermore Crematory, we have a grief library that’s available to anyone who needs it. You are not alone.