What do I say?
What do I do when I see them next?
Should I send a card? Flowers?
It’s a challenging conundrum, isn’t it?
What I’ve observed and experienced, is we all make a lot bigger of a deal in our own heads than it needs to be.
Simplicity is the best option.
A simple phrase, simply being there, being present with no agenda.
A silent hug if they initiate it.
The biggest thing to understand when you are there for someone is: You aren’t the leader when someone else is grieving, they are…and you can’t allow your discomfort to become your motivation to change the environment to make YOU feel better. That’s tough but it’s the truth.
We all grieve differently and we all take different amounts of time to go through the phases and process of grieving. The challenge is to NOT assume that what would make you feel better, will make them feel better.
You’ll help the most if you can be centered and allow them to direct the flow of the interaction. Smile at them with unconditional love. Listen to them. Be there for them. Be present. Talking isn’t necessary.
Find a way you can commit to them for an undetermined amount of time. Can you show up for them weekly for a lunch date? A hike, a dinner? What’s a realistic way you can be in their life on a more consistent basis, that doesn’t burden your life, but allows for you to carve out time to just BE with them?
What can you do to alleviate normal daily activities, or who can you delegate to?
Be the go to contact for them if you have the capacity to direct others in ways that will help your friend/loved one. Ask them first but be the main communicator next.
It’s not a fun experience, but when you allow them to take the lead and you are there as the supporting cast, your friend will be eternally grateful, and you will feel empowered yourself. Here’s another great article to help!