WHAT TO DO AS A FRIEND
We know that no one is rightly equipped for this. We may expected too much or too little at times but we are always appreciative of the love and support. Thank you for being on this grief roller coaster with us and for the eagerness to learn! You are greatly appreciated.
- Stay away from triggering platitudes and statements such as, "Everything happens for a reason." These statements tend to hurt more than they heal. More under the WHAT NOT TO SAY tab.
- Supportive messages & meaningful conversations go a long way. You do not need to fix us but sit with us and try to understand where we are.
- Offer your ear without judgement.
- If you are supporting from afar, be ok without a response. Try, "Thinking of you." "I'm here for you." "How are you feeling right now?" "What's on your mind?" "What's your favorite memory of them?"
- Be vigilant and aware: sometimes we want to talk and sometimes we don't. Sitting in the silence is just as helping as talking through things with us. Don't be afraid to simply ask, "do you want to talk right now?"
- Help without being asked. It's really hard to know what we need, let alone ask for it. Run errands, do chores, clean the house, watch the kids, cook - the list goes on.
- Asking a lot of questions that result in decisions is very overwhelming. Try not to pressure any decisions. Encourage that they have time to make the decisions they need to make.
- Drop off home-cooked meals. It's hard for us to make any decisions in early grief. Having food at the house and ready to eat is a huge help! Try asking what day they are available and drop off the food without asking "how can I help?" Often times, we don't want to ask for help, we just want it done and appreciate when it is.
- PLEASE DON'T DO THE LAUNDRY! We like to keep things the way they are and we want to keep the smell on everyones clothes!
- Ask about triggers. We carry a lot of them. Try asking us what our triggers are so that you can help us avoid them.
- Please try to avoid any complaining or negativity. It's hurtful to compare anything to our grief.
- Read and share books about grief. I bought a few grief books and started sharing them with my circle of friends. I got awesome feedback and they learned about grief through my eyes - helping them better support me and my journey.
- Understand "Grief Brain".
- “Traumatic loss is perceived as a threat to survival and defaults to protective survival and defense mechanisms,” says Dr. Shulman. This response engages the fight or flight mechanism, which increases blood pressure and heart rate and releases specific hormones. Grief and loss affect the brain and body in many different ways. They can cause changes in memory, behavior, sleep, and body function, affecting the immune system as well as the heart. It can also lead to cognitive effects, such as brain fog. The brain’s goal? Survival. - American Brain Foundation
- Learn more from Megan Devine's "How to Help a Grieving Friend"