There are no “right” words to choose when speaking with someone who has suffered bereavement. Just by being there, your support can offer great comfort, and your honesty can be more valued than clichéd statements. Be yourself, be there for each other in ways to provide both emotional and physical support.
During the early stages:
Be willing to take the time to talk with a grieving friend and encourage them to share their favourite memories. It always helps to have a friend close by, even if you don’t feel like talking, so don’t be worried about silence.
Ask How You Can Help.
Offer to look after those small tasks that can become a chore – walk the dog, water the garden, cook a meal or take them to an appointment.
Mention The Deceased’s Name Including the deceased’s name in your conversations makes it easier to talk about their death. Your friend needs to know you are comfortable talking and hearing about their loved one and that they will never be forgotten.
Call them. It can be difficult to call a grieving friend, but they will appreciate the effort. Just a quick call to see how they are doing can really help.
In Later Stages:
Make opportunities to invite your friend to social occasions, include them in new activities and make plans together.
Special Days and Anniversaries – these days can be the hardest for a grieving person. Plan ahead for those times when memories prevail. Suggest doing something together, to let them know that friends are ready to help through those difficult days.
The best gift you can give a friend at a time of loss is the permission to grieve. Do not force a grieving person to “move on”. Let them go at their own pace and help them through the process by providing encouragement and emotional support.