When your family and friends ask how they can help, give this to them.
1) Don’t worry about what to say. Simply being there shows you care. Don’t feel you have to have answers; just be a good listener.
2) Talk about the deceased - anything you know about them, such as what they said or did. It helps grieving persons to keep them closer.
3) Call often, especially after the first couple of months. Their energy level may be took low for them to make the effort even though they may need to talk.
4) Send cards even weeks after the funeral. They are always helpful, and there is a disappointment when they finally quit coming.
5) Do visit the home after the funeral service is over, but stay just a short while. Those grieving need some privacy.
6) Options. If you want to do something with or for the bereaved, give him or her an option. Some days they just can’t cope with “something to do.”
7) Don’t avoid the person when you see them for the first time after the funeral. Go up to them first.
8) Try not to look startled when the bereaved mentions the deceased. Let him or her talk about the deceased loved one as much as they like.
9) Don’t try to get the mind of the griever off of the loved one. That is impossible for a long time if the relationship was close. Remember, the hardest thing for the bereaved is to see life going on.
10) Don’t make small talk. Talk about what is uppermost in the griever’s mind.
11) Don’t be uneasy if you cry and the bereaved doesn’t. A person can only cry so much. The hurt is still there.
12) Don’t talk about what the deceased might have been spared by death. Those thoughts bring no comfort.
13) Don’t remind the person of what they have left, such as other children. At that time all the bereaved can think of is what he or she has lost and the feeling that there is no future. The deeply grieved does not want to think about tomorrow.
14) Things you could do to be helpful: grocery shop, go to the library, harvest the garden, mow the lawn, prepare a meal, baby-sit, or clean house for them.
15) If they have children, invite them to spend time with your children. If the children have lost their father, it would be wonderful if another man would spend some time with them also. He could include them occasionally when he does something with his own kids.
16) Don’t assume the deeply bereaved is “over it” in just a few weeks or even months because they are going on with routine. Grief takes much longer and people can pretend to be doing much better than they are really doing. Shared your love, your time and most importantly, your prayers.