There are few things in life as painful as watching a friend lose someone they love. Seeing them suffer can make you feel helpless. We see this all the time when serving Milwaukee-area families at Krause Funeral Home. But based on what we’ve experienced and observed, there are some very practical things you can do that will make a real difference for your friend.
1.) Offer to bring over a meal or organize meal drop-offs
Your friend has dozens of decisions they’ll need to make, unless their loved one chose to preplan. There are several tasks and errands they will need to handle as well. There is nothing quite like coming home after a long, emotional day to a hot, homemade meal on the kitchen table. Another great idea is to give them restaurant gift cards so they can easily grab a bite when they’re on the go.
2.) Play chauffeur and even concierge
As service plans come together, and word begins to spread about the death, friends and family from all over the world will begin descending upon your friend. Tell them you’re willing to provide transportation to and from the airport, if needed. You might even offer to open your home to guests looking for a place to stay. Those from out of town will no doubt have questions about how to find the funeral home, local hotels, and places to eat. Tell your friend to pass out your phone number and email address to guests so you can field these questions for them. What a world of difference this can make to an already overloaded person!
3.) Offer child or pet care
This is a draining time for your friend, but life must continue. Dogs still need to be walked and children need avenues to expend their energy. Tell them you’d like to take the kids to the park for a few hours, or the dog for a walk around the neighborhood. It’s the daily tasks like this that can just seem overwhelming in the midst of grief.
4.) Don’t underestimate little gestures of love and support
It might seem like a lost art these days, but there is a subtle power in a handwritten note or a phone call. Just knowing you took the time to express your love and support in a concrete way can brighten your friend’s day and reassure them they’re never alone.
5.) Be sure to attend the funeral
The visitation, funeral, and perhaps reception are all important moments for your friend. It’s a time for them to publicly express their appreciation for their lost loved one. They may have spent hours choosing the casket or urn and the flowers and infusing the service with their loved one’s personality. When you make it a priority, you are communicating to them that you also honor their lost loved one, and that you will always be there for them.
If you ever feel your friend is struggling in their grief and needs more help than you can provide, be sure to direct them to the grief resources Krause Funeral Home offers. From online, interactive grief support to recommended local support groups, to aftercare for seniors, to our grief therapy dog, we are always there for the families we serve. We take that responsibility very seriously.
Have you had to walk through a time of grief with someone you cared about? Share with us below what things seemed to help them.