October 6, 2021

How to Help a Mourning Friend

Grief is something that everybody goes through, and everyone handles it differently. It’s not something that can be magically fixed or cured instantly. It takes time and emotional support from friends and family members alike. It can be hard to reach out to someone who is grieving or be unsure what you can do to help. Grief is not a problem you can “fix”, but you can help. Here are a few ways to assist a loved one when they are going through a hard time.


The most important thing you can do for a grieving friend is listening. Let them talk about their loved one/s as much and as long as they want to. Or, on the other hand, if they rather sit in silence, don’t let them sit alone. Remind them that you’re there to lend them a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear. Just being there to give them company can be enough for them.


Give your friend a quick call or shoot them a text asking how they’re feeling, if they’ve been properly eating, sleeping well, etc. It wouldn’t hurt to offer to take them to lunch or a coffee to get them out of the house and away from their internal thoughts for a little while. Doing an activity with them, whether that be in or out of the house, can help the mourning process. Everyone grieves for different lengths of time, so make sure to continue to check in with them, even if it’s less frequent later on. It can mean the world to them knowing someone cared enough to ask how they were.

A few examples of things you can do with them are:

  • Go to the movies
  • Go out for breakfast/lunch
  • Take them for a walk
  • Attend a sporting event
  • Playing a game
  • Arts and crafts


Helping out around the house is a great way to help a mourning loved one. Sometimes daily life can be draining. They might not have the energy or mental capacity to want to cook, clean, or run errands. Here are a few examples of everyday tasks you can assist with:

  • Doing the laundry
  • Cooking dinner
  • Cleaning house
  • Running errands
  • Assist with childcare
  • Helping with bills
  • Drive them around
  • Pet care
  • Lawn care


Asking about their memories and stories your friend has with their loved one can help their mourning process tremendously. Opening them up to talk can make them feel less closed in, and remember it’s okay to talk about those they have lost. They might not want to talk about their loved one, and that’s okay. Don’t force them to speak if they don’t want to. If you can’t muster any words yourself, you can always give them a reassuring hug, back rub, or hold hands to let them know you’re there for them.


Sometimes grief makes a person feel guilt, sadness, fear, outrage, and hopelessness. Remind them that what they feel is normal after a loss, and that it’s okay to cry. It’s common for people to go through the stages of grief for a long period of time, but if they start to become neglectful of their own health or talk about dark thoughts, they may need professional help.

Signs to look out for:

  • Feelings of bitterness, anger, hopelessness
  • Refusing to bathe
  • Neglecting to clean
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Distancing themselves from others
  • Hallucinations
  • Difficulty enjoying life
  • Talking about dying and/or suicide


If a grieving friend or family talks about suicide, seek help with a professional immediately. Call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.


You don’t want to make your loved one uncomfortable or upset when trying to help. There are several things you definitely shouldn’t do or talk about. Here are some:

  • Don’t compare your loss to their loss
  • Don’t push religious beliefs on them
  • Don’t tell them how they “should” feel
  • Don’t make them feel they’re grieving too long
  • Don’t try to “fix” their grief
  • Don’t make assumptions about their feelings
  • Don’t be forceful
  • Don’t judge them


Grief is something that everybody goes through, and everyone handles it differently. Grief is not a problem you can fix, but you can help in many different ways. Maintaining your support, listening to them, assisting with daily living, and checking-in occasionally can make them feel loved and supported through it all.

At Wyuka, we know how hard it is to cope with a loss. We are here to help every step of the way. If you have any questions or would like to speak with one of our funeral directors, call us at (402) 474.3600.



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