10 Ways To Help A Grieving Person
- Go to the wake or funeral, or both. It is extremely hard to witness grief this way, but it is also an extraordinary act of love and compassion to show your support by being there. It means a lot.
- Offer specific help. Writing thank you notes, cook meals, provide childcare—anything you can do. Vague offers of “call me if you need anything” will likely not be taken up.
- Don’t fall back on the normal clichés. “It all happens for a reason,” or “He is in a better place,” may be well-meaning but are not helpful and can be hurtful. Just say, “I’m sorry for your loss,” and mean it.
- Remember to pray for them, and let them know it. Have a Mass said, send a spiritual bouquet, or offer to come and pray a Rosary with them or to take them to Mass.
- Don’t forget that grief is still horrible even after the funeral is over. Remember that everyday moments will still be hard and a great deal of patience and compassion will be needed for a very long time.
- Talk about the person who is gone. A great fear is that our loved ones will be forgotten, so don’t feel funny about sharing a story or asking about their loved one. Even if it brings on some tears, it feels good to know a loved one is remembered.
- Find a good bereavement program and offer to drive. Your local diocese can be very helpful with this, and they often offer the programs themselves.
- Organize some kind of memorial for the deceased. There is a park bench at the baseball field where my son played that has a plaque with his name on it. His special-education league organized a dedication ceremony, and the memorial means the world to my family.
- Don’t be offended if phone calls or texts go unanswered. These communications can seem overwhelming to a bereaved person, so just keep in touch and know your concern is appreciated.
- Use your special talents to comfort the family. Crocheting a prayer shawl, creating a scrapbook, sharing some framed photos or beading a rosary — all of these things can be a beautiful tribute to the person who is gone. My family received many such gifts and we treasure them all.
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