How Can I Help a Grieving Friend Over Time?

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After the flurry of activities calms and everybody returns to their regular activities, this is when the magnitude of the loss starts to hit home. This can be one of the worst times for the bereaved, and it is when friends are needed most. Here are some tips on how to help a grieving friend over time.

1. Listen. This is the most important way you can help your friend. Just listenÖdonít offer suggestions, advice or solutions. By freely giving a sympathetic ear, this allows your friend to feel safe to express his or her feelings.

2. Reminisce. Continue to reminisce with your friend about his or her loved oneís life. Sharing fond memories is a wonderful way to provide comfort. Remember, talking about the deceased will not hurt or upset the person grieving. In fact, it is just the opposite, your friend will appreciate that you havenít forgotten about their loved one.

3. Check in often. The months and years after losing a loved one are very lonely. Let your friend know that you are thinking about him or her. Stop by often or invite your friend to lunch or to the movies. Remember weekends can be tough, so this is an opportunity to provide your company.

4. Learn about grief. To understand what you friend is going through, do your best to learn about grieving. Everyone grieves differently, and by having an understanding of the process, you can have more compassion for your friend.

5. Be Patient. Everyone grieves differently, and there is no timetable on grief. Expect your friend to heal gradually, but know the loss always remains.
Being a friend to the grieving will not always be easy. Your friend has changed and will continue to change as he or she journeys through grief. Your gift of support, however, will always be remembered and cherished by your friend.

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