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What can I do to help a bereaved friend or family member?

Courtesy of Bereaved Families of Ontario.

As you very well know, this period in a person’s life can be very difficult. For a friend of someone who is grieving, you may not even know what to say to console your friend. Below are some tips on what to do to help your friend through this hard time.

  • Do let your genuine concern and caring show.
  • Do be available. Listen, run errands, provide food for out of town mourners or whatever you perceive is needed at the time.
  • Do tell the family how sorry you are for their loss.
  • Offer to be a friend. Deal with your grieving friend/family member gently and positively.
  • Recognize that grieving has no time limit and varies from individual to individual both in the way they express their grief and the time required to stabilize.
  • Don’t let your own sense of helplessness and inadequacies keep you from reaching out.
  • Don’t avoid them because you are uncomfortable and unable to cope with your own feelings about death.
  • Don’t say “I know you feel” unless you really do.
  • Don’t say “You should be coping better by now” or anything else which may appear judgemental about their progress in grieving.
  • Don’t tell them what they should feel.
  • Don’t look for some moral lesson or something positive in the situation.
  • Don’t let your friends, family or co-worker grieve alone. There is a tremendous sense of isolation and abandonment during the grief process. You can help by caring, by being there and by being the best friend you can be.


Posted in: Grief & Bereavement Questions, Most Common Questions