One of the best things in the world is having a best friend—a person we can lean on, partners in crime, someone we can completely trust, and most importantly, someone who can be with us not only in times of joy but also in times of loss and grief.
When our best friend loses a loved one, it often also leaves us in shock, we become speechless. That is a normal experience especially because of the special bond that we have that often translates in each other’s families. We tend to be close to them like they are our own. That is why it could mean so much to our best friend when we are present at one of the most painful moments where he needed us.
While there is no formula on how to comfort and support our grieving best friend, here are some things we can do to help.
1. Being physically present
Sometimes in times like this it is important to know that just sitting down beside our best friend is enough for him to know that we support him and that we are there for him. A simple gesture of hug or gentle tapping on the shoulder goes a long way in showing our love and support.
2. Giving a helping hand.
Instead of saying “I’m here for you if there is anything I can do to help,” it’s best to be personally there. It’s going beyond offering a helping hand. It’s starting to volunteer. By doing this, we lessen our best friend’s burden of carrying the recurring tasks, and just helping him focus on grieving. This is important especially if his family opt to have a wake before the burial or cremation. This task may be as simple as washing the dishes for the family, buying or cooking the food for the mourners, or if we opt for a more generous gesture, buying the family the urn or the casket for the burial if they permit.
3. Keeping our ears open.
As a best friend, our presence is important but there are certain circumstances that can keep us away from being present. Maybe we had an emergency of our own, or we are in another town at the moment. When this happens, we should be ready to just listen. Let’s be sure to pick up that phone or call from our best friend as soon as possible. At this point we can be tempted to say statements like “everything happens for a reason,” or “they are in the better place.” The thing to remember is, in reality we cannot fathom the pain our best friend is experiencing because each one grieves differently. It’s true, words can bring comfort, but it would be better if we can avoid cliches like these. The most important thing to do is just listen. Ultimately, if we feel like we have to say something, let’s make sure to keep it short and genuine.
4. Dealing with the process together
When a person is grieving, a simple task can be exhausting and oftentimes it’s hard to find the strength to do it. When there is no immediate family that is available to assist, our help and assistance is necessary. There might be difficult tasks that might need to be done, like choosing a casket or perhaps buying an urn for ashes or keepsake jewellery for ashes, arranging for the funeral homes, and texting or messaging people or relatives about the unfortunate loss. Let’s just be with our best friend to assist all of the time.
Friendships are truly tested during these times. Being able to help, empathise, and show support to our best friend in these moments is a testament of our genuine and strong friendship.