In troubling times, it can be hard to know what to do. Do you call or respect one’s privacy and give friends time to cope? Do you send an email and offer assistance? And if you do reach out and are rebuffed, do you back off or try again?
It’s always appropriate to reach out and offer assistance, but be specific. Do they need help in picking someone up from the airport, a meal, errands, or someone to stay with the children?
One of the kindest things you can do for the bereaved is to show up. Offer to visit for a short time. Enter the home, turn your cell phone off, and store your belongings. Then pay attention and listen. You can offer to help, but let your friend guide the way. If it’s a chore or errand, step in. If it’s company they need, sit quietly and be present. Your active presence is what is needed most, right now and in the weeks and months ahead.
Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now at a reduced price for e-books for "Illness & Death," "Suicide," "Miscarriage," "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store.
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