Thoughtful things to do for someone who’s lost a loved one. When trying to provide help or comfort to someone who has recently lost a loved one, we’re likely to agonize over the right thing to say.
Sometimes the best way to help isn’t to say anything at all, but to do something specific that is supportive and meaningful.
Offers of support can be open-ended and vague, and often the last thing a grieving person wants to do is devote effort to an ambiguous offer of food or company.
Knowing the best way to lend a hand can be difficult, but it shouldn’t stop you from trying.
With that in mind, Considerable spoke to experts in the field of grief and trauma recovery, who helped us create this list of 6 thoughtful actions to do when someone has passed away.
1. Be present and be persistent
Many folks experiencing a loss receive an abundance of attention and help in the direct aftermath of a death, only to encounter a substantial drop-off in communication as the weeks pass by. That follow-up period is an important time to remain available to the bereaved.
Dea Dean, the family therapist and licensed professional counselor in Ridgeland, Mississippi, emphasized the importance of staying in touch after the initial period of shock following the death and funeral.
Dean recommends not leaving plans open-ended. “Set a reminder in your phone once a week to text,” she said, “and ask to fulfill a specific need.”
And if that offer gets turned down, don’t get discouraged. “Offer to pick up your friend and take them somewhere and let them know you’ll continue to ask. Don’t stop offering and inviting if they decline. Keep pursuing them,” Dean said.
Kriss Kevorkian, Ph.D. MSW, an expert in grief, death, and dying, agrees: “Continue to be available and present for the bereaved. Keep in touch week after week as best you can. In all these actions, please make sure not to take over the conversation.
“Just be present, loving and your authentic self in compassion to another,” Kevorkian continued. “Most people want to have someone check in and visit.”