Handy tips for those trying to comfort the grieving

1) Express your love

2) Express your sorrow

3) If you are one of the people you know they would turn to for support do your best to listen and care.  Even then be sensitive, the first couple of days is filled with details to attend too.  Some folks don’t have a chance to really start grieving until after the funeral.

4) Recognize that the people grieving have endured their loss plus had to put together an event for dozens or even hundreds of people, shell out thousands of dollars and put up with deluge of well meaning but ultimately clueless people.

5) Recognize that you too might be a well meaning but clueless person.

6) Most families draw support from a small circle of their closest friends and family.  If you aren’t sure you are one of those people don’t burden them with another phone call or visit.  Don’t be surprised if they don’t answer the phone.

7) Don’t try to comfort people by telling them how you make sense of their loss. 

8) Be gentle and patient, some people take a long time to grieve.  You may listen to the same stories or the same sentiment time again.  That is ok, let people grieve at their own pace.  Sometimes it makes a tremendous difference to the grieving to just be present and silent. 

9) Don’t tell them how you think God told you how to make sense of their loss, or blame the Devil, or talking about this tumultuous event fits in God’s grand master plan. 

10) Give people space at the funeral, let them eat.  Don’t ignore the recommendations of those directing the funeral.

11) Think!  If 100 people did what I plan on doing would it be more of a burden than a comfort?  If so don’t do it.  

12) Sometimes people need extra support from their closest friends.  If necessary take grieving family members in to your home, field phone calls from the clueless masses, make meals, clean up, attend to details.

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