All too often, we struggle with what to say when comforting a grieving friend. What is enough? What is too much? What seems contrite? The compassionate part of us wants to say something comforting, to support our friend, to show we care. Yet, too often anything we say may feel empty. Have you found yourself saying “call me if you need anything”? I know I have! I also know I am very unlikely to call anyone to ask for help when I need it, regardless the reason.
So, what if, along with offering thoughts or words, we go help! Show up (don’t just call, it’s too easy to say no), and help with things like laundry, cleaning the bathroom, making dinner, taking the dog for a walk, taking the kids to the park… You get the idea. What if we are there instead of just offering our words of comfort?
And not just in the early days and weeks following a loss. Grief can be exhausting, for a long time. Check in with your friend months later. Take them to dinner. Invite them over for a celebration around special days such as birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. Take their dog for a walk. Do the laundry. Allow them to rest and not worry about the mundane day to day tasks. Be there.