Rich is our Digital Officer here at Birmingham St Mary’s and to follow up his story of what happened when his mum died, he has written some advice for Dying Matters Awareness Week of what to do when a friend is dealing with grief.

It’s not always easy to say how you should act when a friend loses someone close to them but here are some things that helped me when my mum died…

    • Listen – there will be times when your friend doesn’t want to think about it at all and simply wants to be distracted. There will also be times when they’ll want to talk about the loved one they’ve lost. Particular memories will have been playing in their mind and simply allowing them to share will make all the difference.

    • Mood – understand that it’s completely normal for your friend to be sad and will be for potentially a very long time, and that no matter what you do, you may not be able to change this. So embrace this and be there for them in any capacity they need.

    • Connection – your friend has just lost someone close to them and there will be a gap in their life. Spend time with them and do what you can to help tackle this gap but at the same time there will be moments when they will want to be on their own.

    • Patience – things will change over time but the pain will never go away entirely. This post on a website forum explains the nature of grief incredibly well and will help you to understand what’s going through your friend’s mind.

People can react to loss in different ways so it’s important to just be there. Don’t be afraid of upsetting them, do what you think is right and do all you can to help your friend through this most difficult of times.

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Our Family and Carer Support Team has produced two booklets about life after loss, if you’d like to read them, please click here.