When a friend experiences a loss, you want to be there for them. You want them to know that you love and care about them. You want them to know that you are there for them. But how?
I get asked this question a lot. I mean a lot, a lot. People ask, my best friend just lost her mom or dad, what do I say to her?
My short answer is always the same. Nothing. Don’t say anything. Not one damn word.
There is nothing you can say that will make your friend feel better. Nothing. Trust me on this one. And chances are, you will say something that will offend your friend. So just keep it all inside. Zip it. Bottle that shizzle up. Push it down. Deep down. Words need not be spoken.
Anger is a major part of the grieving process. Chances are your friend will be pissed off at everyone and everything. Know that this is normal. Don’t try to rationalize any of it. Just listen.
What a friend really needs is just you. She just needs you there for her. She needs you to help write the eulogy. She needs you there so she will know she can get through this. She needs you to get blind drunk with her. She just needs you to be you.
Go out and buy her a basket of booze. She’s going to need it. Get her some smokes while you’re at it. If you have any pills that might numb her pain in any way, throw them in there as well. That’s what she needs.
She doesn’t need your judgement at this time. She needs you to accept her and her blubbering mess of a life. She is grieving and everyone grieves differently. You cannot tell someone how to do it. There is no right or wrong way.
Go to her favorite store and buy her ten black dresses in different shapes and sizes. Get some shoes and accessories too. No one’s wardrobe is prepared for this. She will need new clothes and you’re the only one she trusts to actually buy them for her.
Get her some waterproof mascara. And some big black sunglasses so that she can feel some sense of privacy. No one wants to be seen making ugly cry face. Perhaps even a hat with a veil is in order.
Be there. Hug her. Talk about her loved one that she is so desperately missing right now. Tell stories about that person. When someone is grieving, they don’t want to hear that their loved one is in a better place. They want to hear how much that person was loved. Tell the craziest, funniest story you know about them.
Remember the important dates. Call on those days and let your friend know you’re thinking of them. Also remember how horribly lonely the holiday season can be when you are missing someone. Your friend might not be up for your usual yearly routines. Offer to hang out with her instead.
If she has kids, take them. Don’t ask, just take them. She’ll need some alone time. She’ll need time away from her kids to just fall apart.
In this day and age, technology can really be impersonal. Don’t just send texts. Call her. She needs to hear your voice. And you need to hear hers to know how she’s really doing.
Get her a cleaning lady. Send one on over. Don’t ask. Just do it. Her house will be an insane mess and she will have no clue where to begin. The last thing she needs to worry about is cleaning the house.
Don’t expect her to ever be the same person again. You’ll laugh again. You’ll have fun together again. But she will never be the person she once was because now part of her is gone forever. There is a part of her missing that can never be replaced.
Grief is a long drawn out process. It has many ugly layers. There is no time frame for grief. Some days might be good days. But there will be way more bad than good. Be there for all of them.
And just remember. When it’s your turn to say good-bye to a loved one, your friend will be there for you and she’ll know exactly what to do. It’s the greatest gift ever.
You are friends for a reason. You just need to be you. That’s why she loves you. Make her laugh. Hug her. Tell her you love her. That’s all. Just be her friend. Just be.
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