Funeral service is what I do on the daily, but helping someone I love through loss, whatever the cause, can be awkward. The “right thing to do” is often not in plain sight.
The more I work in the death industry, the more confused I become about what is best during a loss, but I can offer the patterns I have seen and what I have noticed to be most helpful.
- You don’t have to say anything. “I’m sorry” is always enough. Often, there’s an emptiness and we try to fill it with words. There are often no words. That’s okay.
- Physically show support. Sending flowers, giving a hug, sending a meal… these are all good ways to express sympathy while also providing comfort to the bereaved.
- Follow up with them. The immediate moments after loss are tremendously hard, but so are the moments days, weeks, and months later. Follow up with your friend down the road and ask them how they are handling life’s recent transitions. They may find this helpful to talk about any recent struggles.
Loss is a mysterious thing. Death is even more mysterious. When we see someone we love hurting, we strive to help. Unfortunately, there are few things we can do to help our friends through loss, but if those few things are genuine, that’s all that matters. The actions are so little at a time when we feel the need to do so much, they are small simple sympathies that mean the world to those who receive them.
Mallory Underwood, Underwood Funeral Home