Not to be a debbie-downer but things are pretty sad around here. Not all the time and life is happening, we are going to work and taking care of business but still, in the back of my mind at all times is the reality that Bob is gone. Today’s topic is a direct relation to this, Ten Things You Can Do To Be Supportive When Someone Dies.
- Get in touch with them. A phone call to say I’m thinking about you goes a long way.
- Send flowers. Now. I’m an old-fashioned girl and I believe in flowers for a funeral. That said, they can be expensive and some people think they are a waste of money. I say send them anyway.
- Bring food. And by food I mean: bring a meal so that the grieving family has something they can just sit down and eat, something to serve to visitors who drop by, something delicious and nourishing and comforting.
- Make a donation. Sometimes people make specific suggestions for your donations, hospice or alzheimer’s or another charity but even if they don’t you can make a donation to a cause that you support – Kiwanis or the local library of Doctor’s Without Borders. Just do something that will make you feel good about honoring that person.
- Send a card. Send one right away but then – send another one. And maybe even another one. The weeks after the death, when things return to “normal” can be very difficult and reaching out at that time is, to me, even more critical than reaching out immediately.
- Don’t make it about you. Of course you have feelings and you are grieving but remember your place – don’t try to guilt the family into doing something that’s right for you but wrong for them. Shut your mouth and show up with all the support you can muster.
- Following up on #6, dump out, not in. If you don’t know what that means, read this article, it’s excellent.
- Talk about the person who died. Share stories, smile and laugh. Sure, you may cry but that’s okay, too. I remember after my brother died we all stopped talking about him because we didn’t want to upset my mom. She finally looked at all of us one day and said, I’m already upset every minute of every day and you all acting like Donald never existed is just making it worse. Talk about him! And so we did and we found that it eased our pain. A lot.
- Listen. That #8 is great and all but you need to listen to the person who is grieving. You have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason.
- Bring booze. I’m joking but also not joking. Obviously if there are substance abuse issues this is not a good idea. But. For the ones you know enjoy a cocktail, show up with some margarita fixings or a bottle of wine. Make a drink for your friend.
I’m sure there are other more technical and more appropriate things to do but these are the things I do. They are the things I would want someone to do for me – they show caring and support and compassion and maybe even a little humor.
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