Trying to comfort someone who has lost a family member or close friend can feel awkward. These ideas can help.
There are practical ways we can help friends and loved ones who are grieving. Here are a few:
Listen carefully. A heavy burden lies on the hearts and minds of those who are grieving. They need to know that they can grieve without being criticized or judged by anyone, especially someone with whom they share their deepest thoughts. We shouldn't worry about what we will say or about having to say something profound. That isn't what is needed by those who are grieving.
Show compassion. We show our compassion for others by recognizing their suffering and desiring to relieve them of it. We can be compassionate people by helping them with the tasks at hand. How do we know what to do? We can simply ask. We might help notify family and friends of the death. We might prepare the home to receive the many visitors who may arrive. We could organize the collection of food that others will bring. We might ask if we could watch the children for the family to give parents some time to themselves. We can help in everyday, practical ways.
Stay close after the funeral. After the funeral we should not immediately forget about those who are grieving. They will often receive a great deal of support in the hours and days immediately after the death of their loved one, but will anyone be there to listen and be compassionate a week later, a month later, several months later? It's at times like those, when we go back to our routines, that those who are grieving remember that their loved one isn't in their routine any longer.
Those are the times the grieving most need our support.