How to help a grieving friend - Bereavement Care ...

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How to help a grieving friend

Cymraes84
Cymraes84

Hello all.

I hope that you do not mind me posting here. Though not recently bereaved myself, a close friend of mine has just lost her husband very suddenly, and totally unexpectedly. He was only 40 years old, apparently fit and well. They have two young children together.

My friend and I have been pals since primary school and are now in our early thirties. We do not do a great deal together in our adult lives as it goes, but are still good friends.

She does have a huge amount of support from family and friends which is of course good, but I am trying to figure out how best to do my part in helping her through this. I know that there is no right or wrong way of getting through such a thing, but thus far, all I have done is offer truckloads of sympathy, empathy, understanding and love. I have let her know that she is in my thoughts everyday, and that if she needs anything at all then she just has to ask. I have specifically offered to get some shopping done and walk the dog, but she is yet to take me up on these which is totally fine, and understandable given that her Mum is staying with her too. I have also been sending a text every other day, but don't pressure her to respond if she doesn't feel like it.

In terms of suggestions, I briefly mentioned she should maybe consider writing down how she is feeling, especially if she might be struggling to get the words out right now. I also thought it would be a good idea to keep a notebook by her bed so that she can jot down anything she is feeling while she inevitably can't sleep. I also thought that perhaps writing her dearly departed a letter, or several letters, could help? Do you think this would be a good idea? I don't want to upset her by suggesting something that might cause her more pain, but may gently push the idea if it seems like it may help. I also thought it could help if she were to get out for a bit of fresh air? Just in the garden, not anywhere busy.

In time, I thought I may try an encourage her out for a short walk, a bit of lunch or something, but it's very early days for this at the moment - the funeral has not long taken place.

Sorry, I am rambling on now. If I am honest, I am finding it difficult at this early stage to know what to do, and to find a balance between not being a pain in the rear-end and not doing enough. I want to be there and support her, but also feel as though she needs to rest and come to terms with this, so it's, it's just, difficult. I appreciate that no one person grieves the same , but would be very grateful if anyone could offer any advice at all.

Thank you.

9 Replies
oldestnewest

Such a minefield... you're doing the best thing, letting her know you're there as and when needed.

Fresh air... definitely. Maybe pick up her old favourite treats and pop round for tea. Hydration and diet, eating at all can go out the window.

Sometimes the hardest thing is people not talking about the deceased. Not hearing their name or reminiscing because we fear making them sad but it can feel like they've been erased.

All your thoughts are good, if they work for her. Ultimately just being there when she needs a friend is the best thing. 🌟

chloe40
chloe40Administrator

Hello there Cymraes84

I'm really sorry for the loss of your friends husband, such a terrible shock for her and all connected with the family.

I'd like to say what a great friend you are and wish I'd had one like you!

You're doing absolutely all the right things, just remember, she will need you to do and say all these things particularly when her Mum and family have returned home., that is when you will be needed most of all and your friend will be only too pleased to have you support her.

I agree with all your suggestions and particularly the letter writing. offer subtle suggestions a little at a time rather than bombard her and rest assured she is very welcome to join our forum.

Thank you for being her friend.

Chloe

kenster1
kenster1Volunteer

I wish I had friends like you when I needed them most not enough people like you anymore.its good that you are offering this support to your friend like a friend should.she knows that she can count on you if needed.sometimes the best approach is just visit and chat about normal day to day conversations rather than keep asking if they are ok.if they want to do the talking then you are on hand to support them.just depends who you are also I love talking about my losses as it helps me cope better.40 is such a young age specially with kids life aint fair sometimes.god bless you for your generosity in your support and to your friend.

Recently bereaved myself..losing my husband..I think all what your saying and doing is really helpful. I liked that my friends kept in touch..but when sending messages..they would put at the end..'No need to reply'. I think taking a meal round would also be appreciated too..coz I'm sure her mum must be feeling it too. There is so much to arrange and sort before the funeral so she will be totally overwhelmed..and won't yet feel like walking out nywhere. Once the funeral is over..the visitors become less..so I think she will prob welcome company. It has been almost 6 months since my husband passed..and the friends that matter are still regularly in touch or pop in to see me. And I loved talking about my husband and still do. You sound like a good true friend.

Greyone
GreyoneVolunteer

Hi Cymraes84

I've just been reading your post and thought i'd chip in although you have got lots of good advice.

You can be reassured that with mum on-site she will be well cared for. But having an old friend close at hand will be invaluable, especially if you know her mum and get on well with her.

I think all of your suggestions are excellent. The notebook will help her remember things that are easy to forget and will i think reduce her frustration if she forgets things. Writing letters is a good way to express yourself when and how you want to. She could keep them to read at a later date or tear them up depending on the contents. Expressing yourself at this time can be very difficult even with family and friends at hand and sometimes the process is better started with writing things down to organise your feelings and thoughts.

Being only two years after my loss i still find both these invaluable and actually now enjoy writing in my grief journal and reading what i have already written.

Above all i think what your friend needs is the write combination of solitude and company so i hope you and her mum will be able to help with that with just the write level of encouragement and she will be able to share her thoughts with some family and close friends.

Good luck with all your efforts and i am sure she will take great comfort from those nearby.

Thank you all so much for responding to my post. I truly appreciate it, and have taken your helpful words and advice to heart. What a wonderful community :)

I am finding it difficult to gauge what I should do at the moment. I don't want her to feel as though she has been deserted after the funeral, hence I am texting her on a regular basis (but tell her that she need not reply if she does not feel up to it), but then in doing so, I feel like I'm perhaps being a nuisance. Sometimes, I feel like I'm being a pain in the arse by texting every other day or so - is this so? Would it be best to leave her alone for a while? Obviously, I could ask her outright , but it's rather sensitive, and well, I just don't know.

During the wake her parents asked me to call in on her, and as of yet I have not done so, but of course did when the news first hit. I have gently asked her if she wants me to call around a couple of times while we have been texting, but she has not responded to that particular question. I am very much keen to see her, and would more than happily call over, but equally understand if she needs some space. I actually really want to call and see her, but I'm not sure if it's what she wants.A part of me thinks that I should just let her have some time to herself, but then on the other hand, maybe I should just knock on the door anyway?

As a friend, I just want to support her, and do whatever I can to make her feel even 0.05% better. Thank you all again for listening, offering advice and allowing me a chance to talk. Thank you so much, and I am sorry for the losses you have all endured xx

chloe40
chloe40Administrator in reply to Cymraes84

Hello again Cymraes84

I would definitely continue to text but I would also call around as Hidden suggests, we often just want to be left alone but underneath, we want a shoulder to cry on and a big hug, no need for words. Be patient but be there! that's what I feel.

Take care of yourself and yes, we're a great community!

Chloe

Hidden
Hidden

Hello Cymraes84,

What a good friend you are and I echo the comments made by all in our Community.

You know your friend really well and I would suggest you call round to see your friend with some flowers. Write a card to your friend and include it with the flowers. That way if it is not the right time to call, you can leave the flowers and card for your friend to read.

Take care of you too, Lottie x

You sou nd a very close and thoughtful friend,I think just being there for her is the best thing for her,I KNOW when i lost my wife having a friend close ,was a blessing just to talk to..

Best wishes.

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