How to Support a Grieving Friend

Today, I am writing and talking about how to support a grieving friend.

Is it challenging to pick up the phone and call them?

If you are experiencing grief, reaching out to others who are also grieving can be healing. Like the photo above, our suffering can be hidden away, but when we support each other, our grief is lessened, and we take a small step forward like the fawns as they move out of the wetland and across the path to lush green grass.

They seem to be different ages. One has distinct spots, while the other’s spots have faded. Do you think they both have mothers? Perhaps one is an orphan, and the other is comforting them.

Overcoming Initial Reluctance

But what do you say to someone grieving without making it worse? Preparation helps.

First, take a few slow, deep breaths to connect to your heart rather than your head.

Then, consider using this outline as a guide.

  • Brainstorm how you will start the conversation.
  • Just listen.
  • Conclude the call by asking if you can call again in a few days.
  • Afterward, make a reminder in your calendar to call again.

How to Support a Grieving Friend

When is the Time Right to Call?

The time to call is now. If they aren’t ready, they won’t answer. If it’s been a few weeks and everyone has returned to their homes and routines, that may be the best time to call.

Before picking up the phone, write what you plan to say. Then you can just read your words.

“Hi, dear friend. It’s Dawn. I was thinking about you today and wondered how you are doing.”

Depending on their day, they may burst out crying. Or perhaps there is complete silence. Regardless, your response is to listen. It’s not necessary to say anything. When you punched in their number, the love in your heart started flowing toward them. And they need your love more than anything you can say.

When we feel nervous about the quiet moments, it’s easy to say something hurtful like, “I know how you feel.” It makes my heart ache to write those words. Regardless of our grief journey, we can never know what anyone else feels. But we can hold space in silence for them to take small steps toward healing their grief.

Knowing When to End the Call

Grieving can be exhausting. The call might end after a few minutes, or perhaps they need to tell the story again.

As you listen, it may feel like it’s time to wind down the call. Or you might feel exhausted and want to end the conversation. That’s okay.

Before you hang up, ask them if it’s alright to call them again in a few days.

Then, please make an appointment or reminder to call them. It will be easier the next time. And if you are also grieving, reaching out to others will heal your grief wounds, too.

If You Found This Helpful

I invite you to sign up for my newsletter below. If you think talking to a Grief Coach will help you heal your grief wounds, let’s start a conversation via email.

How do You Know?

How do you know when you are on the right path toward achieving your life purpose?

This is a question I have been trying to answer for years. Finally, I have a received a clear example to share with you.

How Do You Know?

We have heard that Spirit will show you whether you are on the right path with signs. These signs are unique for you and delivered in a way that makes them apparent. Some delivery methods might be:

  1. A meaningful song comes over the car radio.
  2. An animal exhibits memorable behavior right in front of you.
  3. Someone you’ve never met starts a conversation like you’re an old friend.
  4. Clouds form an unmistakable animal shape.

I used these examples because they happened to me. I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comment section below.

Here is My Example

Relationships are essential in my life and how I will positively impact the world. So, it isn’t surprising that my example involves someone seeking me out. I’m using a pseudonym for this person. Let’s call him Charlie.

The Chance Encounter

I’m watering a newly planted flowerbed in my front yard on a sunny early summer afternoon. A young man in a red pickup truck pulls into my driveway, gets out, and comes toward me with a big smile. I’m intrigued.

“Hi. I’m Charlie, and I noticed that your lawn needs mowing. This week I graduate from high school, and I’m looking for customers for my mowing business to earn money for college and wonder if you are interested.”

This young man’s personality immediately draws me in. Unfortunately, I have someone who currently mows my yard. Charlie and I exchanged phone numbers after I explained that I might need his services if my current yardman doesn’t work out.

He Reaches Out Again

After a few weeks, Charlie texted me.

“Hi, this is Charlie. I stopped by a while ago asking about your yard. I just drove by, and it looked a little high. Do you need it mowed?”

Immediately, I knew Charlie should start mowing my yard. I felt warm in my chest, like my body was telling me, “Yes!”

There Was More, A Lot More

Before Charlie reached out the second time, I realized he was a suicide survivor like me.

Each week I meet him by his equipment trailer for a quick conversation. It’s easy to talk to him with the soil beneath our feet. This grounding effect in the pure country air creates a safe place for Charlie to talk about the events of his brother’s suicide.

Eventually, he starts talking about his parents and their grief.

And I realize my question, “How do you know?” has been answered. Charlie has shown me through his ease with me that I am in the right place. Embracing grief coaching is another step toward living my life purpose.

Coaching is Just a Conversation

Allowing Charlie to voice his thoughts and feelings is the beginning of healing his grief wounds. And when both the client and the coach feel at ease, it’s almost magic.

Next Steps

If you feel connected to the grief coaching process, let’s start a conversation by email at:

Take your first step toward healing your grief wounds.

Today Marks One Year

Today marks one year since my mother’s soul passed over. But, as one life ends, another begins. Her birth allowed her grandmother to see how a new life overshadowed her son’s death. And now, after one year, I feel my life begin anew.

Does one year seem a long time to feel the wounds of grief heal? Or perhaps it has been a time of healing other wounds too.

What is the Right Way to Grieve?

I’ve got some good news for you. First, there isn’t one right way to grieve. Each person moves through grief differently. And that will change each time you experience it. After all, death marks the end of physical life, but you shared so many memorable moments before.

Second, no one can judge your grief experience. It belongs to you.

However, there has been much research about the grieving process, which may help you understand your feelings.

I can best illustrate some of this process by sharing my experience with complicated grief.

Complicated Grief

Complicated grief occurs when you can’t resume normal activities because your grief keeps getting in the way. As expected, this aspect of grief is multi-faceted. For me, the most obvious was my delayed grief.

Delayed Grief

Delayed grief occurred when I had excessive reactions years after my father died.

Dad loved visiting Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida. He started making knives late in life using blacksmithing techniques, including pattern welding. He admired the beauty of Samuel Yellin‘s ironwork on the gates and bridges that connect to the tower’s location. This photo was taken during one of my parents’ winter visits to Florida in the 1980s, after they had moved to Saguache County, Colorado.

Bok Tower Brass Door
The brass door polishing is partly completed.

I also loved Bok Tower and was a volunteer Garden Guide in the years before COVID. We ended each garden tour at the tower, pointing out Edward Bok’s gravesite with the white flowers and explaining the meaning of the bronze door. On one of these tours, I was suddenly overcome with uncontrolled sobbing. It occurred just as I turned away from my group of twenty tourists to talk about the door.

Taking a deep breath, I wiped the tears away, turned around, and quickly finished the tour. A few people stayed behind to offer their loving understanding. Somehow, I kept from completely breaking down. It was the winter of 2018.

I had lost my grandparents, divorced my first husband, experienced being a suicide survivor of my second marriage, and comforted my father as he died an unaided death at home. All these losses spanned forty-five years, but they had started coming closer together with my husband’s suicide in September 2014 and Dad’s death in April 2015.

Grief doesn’t have to be as dramatic or cumulative as mine to suffer deep wounds. However, when it interferes with normal activity, it’s a sign to seek help, which I have often done.

But What is Normal Activity?

I’d also like to share that my perception of ‘normal activity’ had become skewed.

Did I experience ‘normal activity’ before my 23-year marriage ended in divorce? Then I lived in a world that revolved around my husband’s wants and the demands of mothering two sons. I had no concept of my own dreams. Was that normal?

The truth is that my life doesn’t feel like it was ever normal. What a relief!

So today marks one year. And as I continue healing my grief wounds, I can create a normal life that is mine. The possibilities are endless. Your options to create the life you want are endless too.

With love and compassion,