Hello friends, I've had friends who've lost their partners or children. It's so hard to know how to be there for them without smothering them or not being there enough. Here's a fact:
Unloved people die. People need touch, caring, someone to listen and validate them, a purpose in life and connections with others. People teach you about yourself when you interact with them. Living alone in a house and never seeing anyone is a slow and painful death, or at least a horrible way to live.
To be alone without a friend is happening to lots of people. It shortens your life and health goes down. You need to feel valuable and need someone to share life's moments, joys and sorrows, up's and down's and touch
I've been there before, not having someone to be there for you, not having anyone care how your doing. I understand that you can get in this hole and bury yourself.
When what you really need is to climb out and get out of the house and find some people! Their out there, I swear they are.
Here are a few tips on how to help a friend/love one through a loss.
1. Get in touch. As soon as you learn about the death, visit, phone or write. Even if some time has passed, it's never to late to express your concern and offer to help.
2. Accept your friend's emotions. If angry, listen. If sad, console.
3. Bring a meal. Do this right after the loss and do it from time to time in the weeks and months following the death.
4. Avoid clichés and easy answers. He had a good life... She's out of pain... At least you had 25 years together...These may all be true statements but they are not likely to help. Such sentences tend to minimize the loss. A better response is a simple "I'm sorry" or "What can I do to help?"
5. Offer to clean house. The bereaved often don't have the energy to do this and a clean home can lift the spirits. Bring your own cleaning supplies.
6. Drop off flowers.
7. Bring over some inspirational magazines or tapes of soothing music.
8. Give the gift of your time. Walk and talk together.
9. Hug your friend. An embrace conveys deep affection and support when grief is hard and heavy.
10. Invite your friend over for dinner or out to a movie, concert or sporting event.
11. If your friend has young children offer to baby-sit for an evening, a day or even a weekend.
12. Offer your skills and expertise with insurance forms, probate or taxes. If you have "handyman" skills, offer those. They can be invaluable.
13. Do everything you can to plant seeds of hope. Let your friend know you believe in him or her and know that, day by day, he or she will get through grief.
14. Remember your friend on special days such as anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays.
15. Encourage activities you and your friend can do together, such as joining reading or discussion groups or taking a class together.
16. Talk about the deceased and the loss. Your friend wants and needs people who are open to hearing about the feelings of love and loss.
17. Visit regularly with your friend. Not every visit needs to be emotionally charged but just the simple face of your presence will be comforting.
18. Write notes of encouragement. These can be read and reread for cheer and inspiration.
19. Try to be practical and specific. Think about your friend's needs. If one offers if refused, don't be hurt and don't give up. Try again and again.
20. Let the bereaved cry. Remember, tears are healing. Don't be embarrassed or intimidated if, during conversation, tears flow. It's natural, appropriate and healthy to cry when there has been a loss.
21. Accept silence. Don't force conversation if the bereaved doesn't feel like talking. Always let the grieving person led emotionally.
22. Exercise patience with your friend. The journey through grief can take as long as FOUR or FIVE years.