Often after a loved one dies, there are many people who say the line. “Let me know if you need anything.” While the intention of those who say it may be genuine, it often is not helpful to those grieving. For those who would like to take the time to do something that can actually be helpful to your grieving friend, here are 12 things you can take action on today.
1. The number one piece of advice for those who want to help applies to each of these suggestions. Don’t tell your friend to ask you when they need help. Chances are, they will either forget you said it or when they really do need help, they won’t ask for it. There are a few ways to go about this:
– Give your grieving friend a call about a week after the funeral and ask what you can do. Don’t ask them “if” there is anything you can do, ask, “what can I do?” Especially if they are Minnesota nice, sometimes they might need a little forcefulness to actually admit that they need something.
– If you are a very close friend, stop by their house and ask them what you can do for them right then, or later that week. Keep in mind that you may not always be stopping in at a good time so be more cautious when asking what you can do to help. Let them know that you want to be helpful but not annoying! Once you figure out the mode of asking what you can do to help, here are some other ways to bring relief to your mourning friend.
2. Clean their house. Whether it’s just a quick dusting or an in depth cleanse, their minds are on other things and the simple help of getting things looking better is great!
3. Be the taxi: Take their kids to and from school or activities.
4. Send them a card or handwritten note telling them that you are thinking of them. Even long after the funeral, take the time to send them a note saying that you are there for them.
5. Organize a meal train. Make sure there are things that they can freeze if they get an abundance of food from well-intentioned people.
6. While you’re at it, go over and clean their dishes!
7. Give them a call out of the blue and see if they want to talk – about anything! Their choice.
8. Remember the important dates. Whether it’s the birthday, the anniversary of the death or holiday, you can take the time to do something special for them on those days.
9. Continue to invite them to events, letting them know that they are not pressured to come for all or any of the event. Some days may be better or worse than others but it’s good for them to know that you still want to see them. This can be especially true months after the funeral.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Avoid the generic “how are you?” and instead ask questions like, “What are you struggling with this week? What do you miss about him or her today?”
11. Be a listening ear and someone to give them a hug. Stop by to just say you love them!
We hope these suggestions get you started on being a helpful hand to a friend in need. What other things have helped you, or your friends, as they were grieving? Share your thoughts with us today!