How do you support your friend or loved one who is mourning a devastating loss? What can you say? What should you do?
Grief is not simple and has no specific order or timeline. It is very much like the ocean in that it is never ending and it ebbs and flows. Feelings come in waves and the bereaved has to just continue to ride them, not fight them.
You don't ever "get over" your loss, you just learn to live with it and you don't ever "let go" of the pain, you simply learn to manage in spite of it. At first, the grief is all encompassing but with time you grow and change, because grief does that; it changes you and forces you to grow, and then, eventually, you are able to make more room in your life again for your job, your social life, new memories etc.
Helpful things to do for a grieving friend are: bring a meal (sign up for an organized meal train), listen when they speak and don't try to offer advice. If they have young kids, have them over at your home for play dates or (if they say it's ok and it will be helpful) bring your kids to their home to entertain their kids. You can say things like "This must be so hard", "You must really miss him", "I'm here for you and your family", "You WILL get through this." ________
Most importantly, be non judgemental. They should take as long as they need to mourn, cry, be angry with themselves, doctors, Gd. They need to go through those motions. Let them. Don't take their bad days personally (it's not about you) and respect their wishes- some days they may need space and some days they may need lots of support. Be there.
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