How to Help a Grieving Friend – Part 2


Anyone who has lost a loved one realizes grief doesn’t simply fade away after a few weeks or months. Once the funeral is over and family has returned home, feelings of sadness and pain remain – and sometimes intensify. Here at Krause Funeral Homes, we know what it’s like to walk alongside those dealing with the shock of a death. When our neighbors in Milwaukee, New Berlin, and Brookfield come to us for help with planning a funeral, burial, or cremation, they often walk through our doors in a state of disbelief.

Our many decades of service have taught us how to help those in the throes of grief. Last month, we posted part one in a two-part blog series outlining practical ideas to care for a grieving friend. In part two, we have more to share. While many people are tempted to take a step back from their loved one to give them privacy or avoid awkwardness, it’s important to show you care. Consider expressing support in these five ways.

Ask specific questions. When a friend is struggling emotionally, it’s especially difficult for them to ask for help. Instead of saying something vague like, “Let me know if you need anything,” get specific with questions such as:

I’m going to the grocery store this afternoon. What can I pick up for you?

I have two casseroles in the oven. When can I leave one on your porch?

What afternoon can I take the kids out so you can get some things done around the house?

Be present for difficult tasks. The many details that need to be taken care of following a death are daunting. Things like planning the funeral, sifting through photos for a tribute video, and tracking down paperwork. Offer your assistance in tackling the to-do list. Let your friend take the lead, while remembering how much of a comfort you are just by being there.

Take care of recurring household responsibilities. “Real life” and its endless responsibilities do not pause in the midst of grief. Lessen the burden on your loved one by helping with certain chores like shoveling snow, mowing the lawn, tending plants, walking the dog, or doing laundry.

Leave a care package. Consider purchasing consumable products like toilet paper, napkins, tissues, and storage bags, then leave them on the porch with a heartfelt note. If you know of a favorite treat, a personal touch can mean a lot.

Mail a gift card. Even if the freezer is bursting with lasagna and casseroles, there are days when preparing a meal may seem overwhelming. Stick a gift card in the mail for your friend’s favorite restaurant or one that delivers. Gift cards for a massage or manicure or to the local movie theater are also welcome.

We want our Milwaukee-area neighbors to know the Krause team is here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We have many grief resources available, along with interactive grief support, and our grief therapy dog, Bennie, whose presence brings a unique sense of calm and peace to all who meet him. Whether you’re having a difficult time following a death, or want to learn how to save your family stress by preplanning your own arrangements, contact us anytime.

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