There are ways to come alongside someone and let them know you care. Expressing love during these difficult times is really the most valuable thing we can offer. The following are some easy and practical tips for supporting a friend during a time of loss.
1. Acknowledge the loss. Whether it be through a card, gift or even a text message or email. Reaching out during this time is often what gives the person hope that they are surrounded by love. If you don't know what to say, sometimes the simplest message is best - I would like to offer my sincere condolences on..., I was deeply saddened to hear about...,I am very sorry for the loss of your...It is often nice to mention what you treasured about the person who passed. If you did not know them personally, you can recognize what you treasured about your friend's relationship with their loved one. Keep your note short. Make sure your message lets them know you are there for them but does not require a response.
2. Cooking a meal or baking some treats is often a nice way to express love and support.
3. Remembering special dates like birthdays, anniversaries or special holidays. The first year is always most difficult. Set a calendar reminder for yourself so you can reach out on those hard days.
4. If you want to send a gift, consider sending a plant, tree or rose bush instead of traditional flowers. People are typically overwhelmed by flowers and once they die, they often end up being a burden instead of a comfort. Sending something that can be planted in their yard is a good way to give a lasting memorial gift.
5. Most importantly, remember that grief doesn't end when the funeral is over, it lasts for a long time. Check in often and let people know that you are there for them if they need you.