How to help a grieving friend

I have received a lot of feedback on my previous post on things not to say to someone who is grieving. Some people admitted to being guilty of saying some of those hurtful things but promised to change because now they know better. Those who have lost loved ones agreed that indeed those are things they have been told and they didn’t like it.  Other people said they were stranded on what to do to make a friend who is grieving feel better. They asked, “What can I do to help?”, “what should I say?” Those are the people I want to answer today.

lossSilence is golden: For starters, let me say you don’t need to fill the room with words. Once in a while there will be an awkward silence, your friend will look sad and you will not know what to say.  You don’t have to speak endlessly. If you can, hold their hand, give them a hug. Truly, actions speak louder than words. I have a Bible study group with my closest married friends. The day I lost my baby, they came to the hospital as soon as they heard. They all came in, hugged me and cried with me. The most they said is how sorry they were. Then they held hands and prayed with me. I felt so loved and cared for.

Be honest – if you don’t know what they are going through, come out and say it. I don’t how you feel, I have not gone through something like this but I want to be here for you. How can I help?

Visit them – dropping by their house says so much more than a phone call. As much as loss3technology is a great advancement, it has really affected our relationships. We no longer visit people or meet for coffee. Instead, our communication revolves around Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and all these other apps. Friendship is expensive, so pay the price. Call to find out when they are home and go visit your friend. They will appreciate your warmth.

Be a helpful guest – when you pay them a visit, don’t expect them to play perfect host. They might not be up to fixing dinner or lunch for you. When I came from the hospital, I was still quite unwell and still on medication. I could barely make tea leave alone prepare dinner for guests. One day Tim and Lo – our friends and neighbors came to check on us and they brought us dinner. Can you imagine how happy we felt?

Be tactful – be keen to notice when your friend doesn’t want to talk about what happened. In her book She shall be called woman, Adah Adoyo explains that retelling a loss story over and over vexes the spirit. If you want to know what happened, ask other close friends who may know.

loss1These are just some of the things you can do to help a friend who is grieving. I’m sure there are plenty more. Do what you can. Sacrifice in whichever way you can. If there is a funeral, go – even if it’s in upcountry. Listen. Just be there. Show Love!

Share and leave a comment. Have a splendid week 🙂


7 thoughts on “How to help a grieving friend

  1. This are great practical tips to help us offer a shoulder to lean on for those who are hurting without adding discomfort.

    On those with similar experiences with those they are helping, they should be cautious on how they do it because it all hurts differently.

    How one handles a painful experience maybe so different with another.

    Each situation should be approached with great wisdom.

    Thanks Wanjiru.

  2. Great piece Wanjiru,you just don’t know how much you are helping some of us,there is always an urge to come back to your blog and check out for the latest post..

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