Wednesday, January 23, 2013


What do you do when your friend is grieving?

I'd like to place before you some ideas on how to more effectively help your grieving friend.  These are just some things that helped me during my grieving times, and maybe you can feel more comfortable and competent where once you may have felt nervous and unsure.

  • Don't say, "I understand" .  It's really okay to admit that you are out of your league or don't really understand.  
  • Be available to just listen. Your friend just needs a comforting presence right now and avoiding them says that, truthfully, you really don't care or that they aren't a priority in your life.  Be available to listen.  Be present to just sit with her.  Don't feel obligated to be witty or or pithy or wise.  You ought not to feel impelled to talk at all, in fact. Quiet listeners are very few and far between and a lovely gift!
  • On a more practical note, offer to clean their house, do their laundry wash windows or do dishes for them. Cleaning is probably the very last thing on their mind right now.  Helpful, practical friends are a true blessing, and dusting or vacuuming for your friend leaves her free to fully concentrate on the healing process.
  • Organize a meal preparation circle for her. Get your knitting circle, Bible study friends, or zumba group together.  For me, this was the biggest blessing and the kindest thing anyone ever did! Be as generous as you can for as long as possible. Freezer meals and crock pot goodies are some ideas for filling her house with meals so she doesn't have to cook.
  • Make a charitable donation in memory of your friend's lost loved one. When our 6th baby, Janie, was stillborn, we chose to purchase Bibles from the Gideons in her name and donate them to our hospital. On the front page of the Bible it said, "donated in memory of Janie Rose Gilchrist, 5-13-04". You know your friend and you know the causes and organizations that are near and dear to her heart. It doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate to be a blessing. I highly recommend donating blankets or bottles to your local crisis pregnancy center or the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep foundation.
  • Put together a basket of goodies for your friend according to her hobbies or loves.  A Quiet Time basket with a good book or devotion, hot tea or cocoa, a candle and a bookmark is one idea. Go the extra mile and include a plate of cookies or muffins!
  • The most important and best way to help your friend is to continuously pray for her. Nobody understands better than our Lord Jesus! Let your friend know you are praying diligently for her and then, do it! When her name comes up in conversation, pray! Jesus is our Shepherd and the Holy Spirit will comfort and soothe her in countless ways.
I pray that this has been a helpful post full of practical ideas to make you a more confident minister to your friend.  My friends did these things for me and I will never, ever forget their kindness, sympathy and generosity.  Don't be afraid to ask the Lord for strength and boldness to be able to more effectively console and comfort your friend!


Erin said...

This is a great list, and reading it brought back into my mind all the kind and loving gestures extended to me and my family during our biggest time of loss. Such wise words. Thank you for sharing!

Tesha said...

Such wisdom in this post I wish I could send it to everyone that has a grieving friend.

Rebeca said...

These are great suggestions! I think often people don't now what to say, so they don't say anything at all. It always means so much to me when someone remembers my babies with me. I've suggested making a note of a date and remembering with them the following year too, doing some small act of kindness to let them know you have not forgotten.