What to Do When a Friend Loses a Loved One

We lost a client to a heart attack yesterday, so today I’m busy cooking for his family and making a flower arrangement for his wife.  He was such a wonderful man who loved his family fiercely.  It’s so sad, the second time this year we’ve lost a client to a sudden death, and I’m back in that pocket of feeling helpless.

Everyone who is in our situation says the same thing, that they feel so helpless.  You see people grieving and suffering, and there’s nothing you can do about it.  I thought I’d write a little something about what you can do to help support those suffering a loss.


“If there’s anything I can do, let me know.”

We’ve all said that, and all it does is leave us feeling helpless, knowing that they’ll never ask for anything.  The most important thing you can do is BE there.  When my dad was dying, I had friends at the hospital sitting in the waiting area at 2am.  They brought snacks and sat there reading, and even though I was at my dad’s bedside and couldn’t see them, I knew they were there, and that I could go out there at any moment. During the day, we had a full waiting room, food constantly coming in.  I remember my friends Summer and Judy serving everyone home-made enchiladas.  It was amazing.

There are some proactive things you can do to help comfort grieving ones and alleviate stress for them.  Here are some practical examples:

  • Drop off flowers
  • Cook meals that can be easily frozen
  • Watch children while arrangements are being made
  • Give rides to elderly ones
  • Clean in preparation for a funeral service or wake
  • Help coordinate funeral service or wake
  • Provide food or drinks for wake
  • Use any special skills, such as flower arranging or photography to help

Also, when you’re grieving, the nighttime is the worst, so offer to stay the night, and be ready with coffee or tea if they need to stay up and talk.  The best thing to do is to gather several friends and take turns rotating nights so you’re not the only one there for several nights in a row.   Try to have some activities ready for the daytime, such as watching funny movies in your PJs, or playing cards.  That can help to take their mind off of things for a little while, giving their brain a break so they don’t get too exhausted.

The bottom line is, until God fixes the world we live in, death will continue to happen.  Sadly, we are all affected by it, so we should all support each other.  If you have any more practical ideas to help, add them to the comments below.


Share: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus