10 simple gestures or acts of kindness you can do for others when you don’t know how to help someone who is grieving. Being an encouragement to others can help in more ways than you think.
These tips can be helpful when you don’t know what to say or do. Sometimes the little things make all the difference in the world.
Losing a parent, friend, or child is the hardest thing you have to go through. Not only do you have to come to terms with the loss, but it’s the details, the emotions, all the plans you need to make. Then you still have to take care of just all the stuff life throws at you.
What if you are a friend of someone that loses a parent, a child, or a family member? It even becomes harder, because you don’t know what you should do.
You want to help and you want to be there, but you feel inadequate like there is nothing you can do to take away their pain, so many of us don’t do anything.
One thing I have learned is that if you ask how you can help, many will say thank you but no thank you. They don’t want to feel like a burden, so if possible just step in and do something on this list.
There are things you can do that matter even when you don’t think they do.
Simple Gestures to Help Someone Grieving
- Giving a card or writing a message is a wonderful thing – Something they can keep
- Do an errand, (mail pick up, lawn care, groceries, carpool kids)
- Bring a meal or a snack, (many times they are out for dinner, so bring in the morning)
- If you are a close friend you can come clean their house
- Answer their phones for a few days or make the calls for them about funeral times
- Pet Care (feeding and walking)
- Donate to their favorite charity
- Put them on the prayer chain at church
- Send a plant (they last longer than flowers)
- Write about a good time with the person they lost if you knew them
- Be the contact person that people can call so the hurting person can have time to grieve
- Drop off a personal care basket
- Give Gift Cards
Send a Card
Send a Sympathy of Thinking of You Card – these will be a lifesaver when the person is grieving. This lets them know you care and are thinking of them.
Do An Errand
Call them or text them and ask if there is one errand they need done? Fill up their car with gas, pick up some milk, buy them some stamps, etc.
Bring A Meal
This is a lifesaver. Many can’t think about cooking or taking care of the family’s food needs while they are grieving. You can also send a gift card for a meal.
Clean Their House
Send over the Cleaning Lady or Bring a few friends to help clean their house. This is really needed if they are going to have people visit after the service. Maybe they will be having have guests and maybe they need the guest room set up.
Make Phone Calls
Sometimes there are difficult calls to make, or even confirmation calls for the service that needs to be followed up on. This can be very helpful and relieve some of the anxiety.
Take the dogs for walks, or buy pet food. Help clean up any messes the pets may have made recently.
Donate to Favorite Charity
You may want to send flowers or a plant, or give to their favorite charity.
Send Gift Cards or give monetary gifts
Funerals are extremely expensive, there are many considerations that need to be made. Many times this comes out of the family’s pockets while waiting for insurance to become available if any. Sending a gift card or small monetary gift is much appreciated.
Attend the service
If at all possible, if it’s an open service, be present. Sign the guest book. The grieving family needs to have your support. I would say this is one thing that made a difference to me personally.
Sometimes after a few weeks and the calls stop coming in is when you can help by being present. That is when a lot of the grieving begins when everyone goes away. Grief doesn’t stop for some for many years, if at all.
Try not to compare a previous personal loss to their new loss. In my experience, nothing will compare to their loss. Remember it is not about you, it is about them. Just try to be there for their grief and focus on comforting them.
- Call once a week and set a text more often
- Take them to lunch or dinner
- Send a card in the mail
- Send a text message
- Just be a friend
- Help them clean out a room if they need to donate items
- Buy them a worship cd
- Suggest a grief share group they can join
When I lost my father two years ago, the things I remember most about that rough time, is the meals I was brought, the messages I received (they are still on my phone two years later), the cards I received, (they are all in a box now I can look through) and the people that showed up at his funeral, (my dentist included).
People matter. We need each other for support. Let them know you care. Send them a beautiful scripture for them to hold on to.
You might want to read about how to declutter and what you can do with loved one’s items after a loss.
Add a suggestion to my list in the comments about how to help during the loss of a loved one, and I can keep it growing to help others.