How to Support a Grieving Friend

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

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