How to be a Compassionate Friend

Offer practical support

Such as meals, shopping, gardening, errands, lifts, etc. Especially in the early days.

Accept that everyone grieves differently

Grief is a normal and natural response to loss but everyone grieves differently.

Don’t judge

There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Especially don’t say “you should…” or you ‘shouldn’t…”.

Accept a wide variety of emotions

Such as sadness, anger, confusion, fear, guilt, relief, etc. Such varied emotions are a natural response tothe death of a loved one.

Listen well

Grieving people often need to talk about their grief and sometimes it’s okay to just sit in silence.

Use the name of the lost loved one

Allow the grieving person to talk of their loved one and to use their name.

Avoid platitudes

Such as “At least you have other children”, “It was meant to be”, “It’s God’s will”, “Maybe God wanted another angel”, etc.  Well meant statements like these are unhelpful and often hurtful.

Don’t say “I understand”

Or “I know how you feel”. Individual grief is so complex that no-one else can really understand how an individual feels.

You can’t fix it

No one can take away the pain and sadness but knowing that people care is comforting and healing.

Don’t assume

People who are grieving aren’t necessarily showing it.