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How to be there when your friend is grieving. By Sandra Magsamen

an inspirational artist who helps people express themselves & connect with others.


Life is full of firsts and births. The day a child is born, the first day one goes to school, the first day of summer, the first date, the first job and the day a big idea is born! Firsts and births bring with them hope, possibility and excitement. Life is also full of lasts and deaths too. The last dance, the last time you see a friend before moving, the death of a beloved pet, the loss of a family member and the last rose of summer. Last and death bring with them sadness, loss and grieving. Both births and deaths are part of the circle of life and both offer us opportunities to connect more closely with the people we love as we move through the many journeys and passages of our lives.

When a friend is grieving we may find ourselves exposed to vulnerable, melancholy moments and moods that we may never have experienced before. We often find that our friendship is called upon to be comforting, kinder and even more compassionate. All of us will experience grief in our lives. Sadly there is no avoiding it or hiding from it that works. But, if we can find ways to soften our heart and learn in the inevitability of loss and death we can find meaningful ways to support the people we love in their most vulnerable time. The effort we make to be with a grieving friend and to offer comfort will only deepen that friendship. Loss and grief are one of those times that require friendship to be true, steadfast and un-conditional. After all, a real friend is there for the good times, the bad times and all the times in between.

When my friend Morris lost his wife, Lilly to cancer after a very long illness I went to visit him. On the drive over I was filled with apprehension, as I wasn’t sure what to say. I arrived with a tin of brownies and a big hug. We sat down and Morris began to talk. He talked and talked and talked even more. He shared stories, he cried, he laughed, he talked about the plans for the memorial service and we sat together for a few hours. My apprehension was warrantless, he didn’t need me to say anything, he just needed me to be there and listen as he worked out and began to rearrange the pieces of his life.

Often we think we must act hastily to make a friend feel better when they are grieving. Truth be told, the passive act of listening may in fact be the best possible way to be there and help a grieving friend. We can’t make our friend feel better, only time can soften the loss but we can offer comfort, support and love.

Everyday ways to comfort a grieving friend


  • Take a friend for a long drive, listen to music and just be together.
  • Go for a walk on a nature trail. Every step helps to “walk off” stuff we don't want and helps us to “walk on” towards what we do.
  • Cook together! Go to a farmers market and pick up everything to make a warm and comforting meal. Think roasted veggies, roasted chicken and mashed potatoes.
  • Today we have so many options for communicating with each other. You could call, text or e-mail. Perhaps send a text with a cute emoji or send a funny little video or just an email that says you are in my heart and prayers today. Just reaching out makes someone feel remembered and loved.
  • Send a card you make or purchase that tells your friend know you’re thinking of her even when you are not together. Remember, good friends are like stars even we you don’t see them you know they are always there!
  • Go through photo albums together and listen to the stories your friend may tell of the times she shared with the one she lost. Make new albums with pictures that have yet to be organized.
  • Sit, make a few cups of tea and just see what's brewing.
  • Send a plant or flower with a card that reads sending you a bunch of love. As the plant grows and the flowers bloom they will be a beautiful reminder of your friendship, concern and love.

    1: https://images.contentstack.io/v3/assets/bltdd99f24e8a94d536/blt2bef1d6c4c356e47/5ee3ec82fa278502ac00e181/everyday-ways-to-comfort-a-grieving-friend.jpg