The depth of one’s grief doesn’t necessarily equate to the quality of the relationship, so just because someone had a difficult relationship doesn’t mean they’re not hurting. It’s even possible that they’re hurting more because the opportunity for reconciliation has passed. And they’ll grieve that loss along with what might have been.
So what’s an appropriate response to this complicated loss? You can call or write a condolence note expressing your sadness at hearing the news. Even if the bereaved doesn’t want to discuss it, extend an invitation to get together for a visit, either for coffee, a meal, or a walk. Grief from this loss is complicated so if the bereaved does open up to you, a willingness to listen will be appreciated. If you’re uncertain about making a donation in memory of the deceased, you can always make a donation to a cause you feel would be meaningful to the bereaved. The reason for the donation is simple; thinking of you.
Just like any loss, your friend will need a friend. And that’s where you come in.