3 Ways to Support a Grieving Friend


From sending cards and leaving comments online to sending flowers and doing household chores, there are many ways to offer comfort and support. Here are some ideas  to support those who are grieving.

1. Support them with words

Kind, genuine and compassionate words can bring comfort to those who are grieving. It can be a memory left on the online obituary, a text or email, a card, a phone call or a face-to-face interaction. People grieving often feel very alone. Reaching out with words reminds them they are not isolated or forgotten. Many read and reread online comments or sympathy cards, sometimes for years to come.

As you express your sympathy through words, gestures of condolences, or actions, keep a couple of small tips in mind. Don’t compare grief. Allow them their own grief, and give them compassionate support. Don’t use trite answers, minimize their pain, or trivialize the experience by telling them to move on. Instead, you could say, “I hate that you’re going through this difficult time,” or “This must be really hard for you.” Share stories, provide a listening ear and continue to reach out.

2. Support them through gestures

Many people choose to celebrate a loved one’s life through kind gestures. Flowers and plants are a common expression of sympathy. Consider sending a symbolic plant or one that will last year-round indoors. Personalized or hand-written condolence cards with the plant or flowers can symbolize your affection.

Other gestures may include a donation to a charity. Refer to their online obituary to see if a specific charity is recommended. Donating to charity in honour of a friend or family member who has passed away can bring a sense of peace and purpose to their loved ones.

3. Support them through actions

As you watch those you love grieve, you may feel helpless and unable to take away the pain or bring comfort. Consider expressing sympathy by doing something practical to help. Chances are, these acts of condolences will be welcomed.

If you want to help through action, be specific in your offers rather than asking what you can do to help. Many times those who have just lost a loved one feel as though they are drowning in all that needs doing or may not even know where to begin. Offering specific tasks may just be the lifeline they need.

Some practical ways to show sympathy through action:

  • Offer to do yard work, such as lawn mowing or snow removal.
  • Buy groceries or offer to order and deliver a meal. .
  • Assist with daily tasks (i.e., laundry, wash dishes, vacuum).
  • Offer transportation or hospitality if they have out of town guests for the services.
  • Assist them in reconciling bills, utilities, financial papers, etc. This is especially true if there is no one remaining in the household to manage those tasks.
  • Offer to run errands, especially if they are elderly or uncomfortable driving.
  • Get them outside. Getting fresh air and exercise is important and may be cathartic.

We are here to help

It’s tough to know what to say or what to do, but no matter how you express your sympathy, be sincere, listen and stay in contact. Dignity Memorial professionals assist our families through the grieving process every day and are here to help you bring comfort to loved ones as they grieve.

In addition to celebrating each life with highly personalized send-offs, Dignity Memorial providers are proud to offer special savings and benefits to CARP members and their families. To learn more, visit DignityMemorial.com/CARP or call 866-668-1841.