Monday, 12 November 2018

Advice For The Friends Of Someone That Is Grieving

There isn't a rulebook as to how people grieve, and everyone is completely different in how they cope. I haven't been on the other side of my situation luckily, but I can imagine that it can feel quite powerless to have a friend that is grieving and not knowing how or if you can help.
Not wanting to interfere too much, but also not wanting to disappear in the fear that you don't know what to say.

Therefore today I have compiled a list of ideas for friends on how they can help and the best ways to approach the situation. These are, of course, only my opinion of what is best, and as I mentioned above everyone grieves in a different way, so these may not work for everyone. But I believe that they offer wonderful support, which is often practical.

Care Package

My best friend from the age of 4 left a little hamper of goodies on my doorstop for me after my mum died. She didn't knock, simply left it there and then text to say it was waiting. Inside was a beautiful letter which she had warned on the envelope that I may not want to read just yet.
Then another note, which had a list of instructions and a step by step guide on how to use the enclosed treats.
There was a bar of chocolate, a bottle of Baileys, a pair of fluffy socks, essential oils, a face mask and bath crystals.

A full kit for a pamper evening. This was such a well thought out and touching gift, and these comforting picks were exactly what I craved.
It is a lovely idea to put together a little box of your friend's favourite treats and comforts. Little things soothe the most and get you through each day.

Frozen Meals

I lived off of a frozen lasagne that my auntie had cooked for us all, for the first week after my mum died. I hardly had an appetite and would only eat once a day. So one tiny portion of lasagne heated up was it for me.
I must admit that I don't enjoy cooking at the best of times, so when I felt this horrific and had zero energy anyway, this was something that I just had no time for.
So a great idea as a friend would be to cook up something hearty like a lasagne, or a batch of chilli con carne, soup even, and take it round to your friend to pop in the freezer.
This way you know that they can eat some 'proper' food and it gives them one less thing to worry about.
If you don't love cooking either, why not pick them up some frozen meals from somewhere like Cook. Still nutritious and handmade, but with no preparation.

Make Plans, Don't Just Offer

I know that when you want to offer help, but don't know how, we often message saying 'let me know if I can help at all' or 'please shout if you need anything'.
This is always so well received as you know that the person in question cares for you, however I can vouch for the fact that often when someone is grieving you don't want to have to ask.
You either don't want the fuss, the sympathy, or just can't be bothered.
So one of my biggest recommendations is to not just offer, but to actually make plans.

'Are you free at 3pm tomorrow? If so I am picking you up and taking you for a coffee.'

Make it easy for your friend, they will want the company and help, but may not ask, so this makes it so much simpler.

Simple Tasks and Chores

Simple tasks and chores can really mount up and having help with these can be a huge help. I would never suggest simply turning up at your friend's door. I had this happen to me a few times, when I was really not in the mood to see anyone at the start ( and it was always people who weren't close friends anyway), and honestly I hated it.
But if you are popping over, why not offer to take their dog for a walk whilst you are there, or put a load of washing on for them whilst you are making the tea.
Even driving them to any appointments or taking them to do their food shop. These little acts can make the world of difference.

Send The Message

When I was in the initial few weeks of my grief, in the lead up to my mum's funeral, I didn't want to talk to anyone. I lived in a bubble and that is how I coped. My friends all text me regularly and I often didn't reply, but I did read every one. It's important to know that those messages are very important, and even if you never get a response, they are making a difference and being read.
Don't be offended, just keep texting so that they know you are there when they are ready to speak.

I hope that these few ideas can be useful when you want to actually help your friend in need, and to understand how they may be feeling.


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