What To Do When Your Friend Loses A Parent
Bereavement is an intense emotional experience. We here at VideoJug show you what to do when your friend loses a parent. We will help you support them the best way you can, if you follow these simple steps.
Step 1: Don't be shy.
It is easy to find yourself overawed by the experience your friend is going through. You might not know how to help, or don't want to intrude on their private grief. But your friend probably needs your support now more than ever. Make the first move by visiting or calling, or sending a note. Let them know that you are thinking of them and make it clear that you are available and willing to offer support in whatever way they need.
Step 2: Listen to them.
One of the best ways of dealing with grief is to talk to someone. Encourage your friend to talk by asking them open questions like, “how are you feeling?” Be available to simply listen, without trying to solve their problems or offer easy answers. Have patience. Your friend may want to talk about the same thing repeatedly. This is healthy because it helps them to come to terms with the reality of the situation. Don't discourage this by saying something like “at least he had a good innings”. This will close the conversation down and will make them think you want them to stop. Let them keep talking for as long as they need, repeating themselves as much as they like.
Step 3: Let people know.
There are lots of people who will need to be told about the death. Your friend will probably want to tell close friends and family themselves, but you could offer to ring round and tell others on their behalf. You will need to know when the funeral is going to take place and how people can contact your friend to offer their condolences. Be gentle and sympathetic, responding to questions as best you can.
Step 4: Practical support
Immediately after a death, there are lots of practical arrangements that need to be dealt with. Legal procedures like registering the death can only be done by the next of kin. You won't be able to do these things for your friend but you can offer emotional support by going with them.
Step 5: For the funeral
When attending the funeral dress smartly and plan to arrive early. It is traditionally respectful to wear black although this is not compulsory. Some people specifically ask people not to wear black as they consider it too sombre and out of character with their loved one. Find out from your friend if there are any special circumstances about the funeral. Take some tissues with you even if you are not feeling particularly emotional you can offer them to people who are. A funeral is an opportunity to pay your respects to the person who has died but also to celebrate their life. Before you leave think about some good things you remember about the person and be prepared to mention these in conversation.
Step 6: After the funeral
After the business of preparing for the funeral, the next few days may be some of the hardest for your friend. They may find themselves alone with their thoughts while others around them get on with normal life. Make a point of checking in on your friend in this time, and continue to offer your support for as long as they need you. Help them to remember the good things about the person they've lost by saying things like “do you remember that time when…”
Step 7: Clearing the home
At some point, particularly if this was their last remaining parent, your friend may have to visit their parents' house to pack up their belongings so the property can be sold. This can be an emotional time and many find it very difficult, especially if the house was their childhood home. If they are facing the prospect of doing this alone, offer to go with them. They may appreciate the company and the practical help.
Grief is an ongoing process, so let them take it at their pace. With the help of a few good friends, they will be able to grieve healthily and begin to move on with their life.
Step 8: Further Help
Cruse Bereavement Care offer help and support to anyone