As a friend you will really want to help in any way you can but it is tricky to know what would help. You may feel unsure as to what to say to a friend that has been recently bereaved. You may worry that you’ll not be able to comfort them properly, your words might sound hollow or that you might say the wrong thing.
However, the best gift that you can give someone in their position is to be a good listener, quietly listening and allowing them to speak about whatever they want – if they want to.
Whilst offering to help in any way you can is appreciated, it’s much better to be pro-active and offer to do something specific. It could be making them a meal to pop in the oven or taking the dog for a walk. Often the person might feel apprehensive to ask you directly to help with something like cooking dinner, driving them somewhere or doing the washing, but they do really need the help. Early on, you could offer to liaise with family and friends of the deceased, helping to keep them in touch with arrangements etc.
Many people will withdraw into themselves and become very isolated, especially a little further down the road once the initial wave of activity and support may have subsided. They may stop doing the activities that they once enjoyed and pull back from their social life. Inviting a friend for a home-cooked meal, going for a walk or taking them somewhere where they won’t feel pressured to talk such as the theatre, cinema or even a sporting event could be exactly what they need. Equally, inviting them to join in with one of your interests might give them something new to focus on.
Everyone deals with their grief in their own way but if you are worried about how someone is coping then there are lots of support groups, charities and professional grief counsellors who are able to offer help and advice. Liverpool Bereavement Service have fully trained counsellors, if you need our support please call us on 0151 236 3932.