Guest blog by Anne Harris- April 26th, 2019.
When a friend of yours loses someone dear, it’s important to show your friendship in their hour of sadness.
Friendships are made of common interests and emotions. As such, they require our emotional involvement in difficult situations.
A real friend will choose the words of support and take practical actions to help a bereaved friend.
We think that many people who want to be there for their friends simply don’t know how to do it the right way. That’s why we’ve selected some practical actions that will make you and your friend feel better.
1) Offer practical works instead of fixed phrases
When somebody loses a spouse or a parent, they usually aren’t aware of the entire situation at the beginning. The emotional stress we have to cope with overwhelms our mind and body. As a result, we can’t think clearly and we’re not able to get back to the daily routine for weeks or even months.
This is where you should step in and offer some practical actions that will help them organize their life.
For instance, you can do gardening or take their car for a checkup. What’s more, several friends can join together to do regular actions for your grieving companion.
That way, one of you can go shopping once or twice a week.
Another friend can cook the meals and take them to the friend in need for the first few days.
Other friends can take care of the chores.
When you suggest some practical things that you can do, it means much more than asking the usual phrase: "Do you need anything?"
2) Pay frequent visits
When somebody is grieving, they shouldn’t be left to struggle with their loss alone.
Being alone doesn’t only amplify the feeling of sorrow, but it also makes more room for all sorts of negative thoughts. After all, a trouble shared is a trouble halved.
That’s why you should pay frequent visits to this friend of yours. Just like what we suggested for offering help with daily errands and chores, don’t ask him or her whether they want you to come. Some people simply don’t want to inconvenience you or seem desperate, so they would probably say that they’re alright.
Because of that, it’s better just to call them and say something like “I’m near your place now and I’m coming to see you.”. Not only will they be happy that you visit them, but they’ll like the fact that you remembered them in the first place.
Likewise, you can call your friend and suggest that he or she comes outside for a walk or a cup of coffee. Again, it’s better to say that you’re already outside or that you’re on your way to the park.
What you can also do is let them know that you’re going to come the next day, as well. That way, you’ll indirectly show your friend that he or she has someone to rely on.
3) Arrange different activities
Apart from visiting your widowed friend as much as possible, you should arrange different activities that the two of you can do.
Of course, you shouldn’t force him or her to do something just because you think that will be good for them.
Instead of that, offer several possibilities, like “I was thinking about renting a bike at the weekend. I’d like you to come with me” or “Let’s join a yoga club around the corner”.
Of course, the scope of these activities will depend on the age and physical condition of the bereaved person.
If your friend is a pensioner or has some health issues, you can organize some in-house activities.
That way, you can meditate together on the balcony or play chess.
What’s more, you can arrange in-house care for those days when you’re not able to come to their place. As explained by the private live-in carer London experts, older individuals are less prone to depressive conditions when they have someone by their side. This is even more important for seniors who have just lost someone fear.
4) Talk about the loss
When somebody is trying to overcome the loss of a dear person, it’s vital for them to have someone to listen to them. Talking about emotions is beneficial for people of all ages and conditions, let alone the ones who have just lost their partner.
Therefore, you should listen to your widowed friend for as long as it takes. Let them share their fears, memories, and anxieties with you. It’s not always easy to deal with a large number of somebody else’s emotions, especially if those emotions are negative.
But this is something that a friend would do so it’s important that you show compassion and
understanding to your widowed friend.
If your friend is struggling severely with the loss, it’s a good idea to organize a roster of friends. That way, one of you will pay a visit to him or her every day. As a result, that person will have someone to talk to every single day and it won’t be the same person.
When somebody who you love loses their husband or wife, it’s important to bear in mind that actions speak louder than words.
In line with that, don’t just offer your help but approach your friend with practical ideas.
Apart from that, talk to other mutual friends and make a schedule of visits so that your widowed friend always have someone to lean on.