How To Help A Grieving Friend

Beth Marshall

It’s hard to know exactly what to do when a friend is grieving deeply. I’ve tried sending flowers, even an occasional chicken pie. After a funeral, especially here in the South, the answer is to feed the family, whether they are hungry or not.

This desire to comfort friends who are mourning is a holy one. It comes from a place of compassion, and it’s what God wants us to do. In Romans 12:15, we’re instructed to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”

Flowers and chicken pie are good, but grief outlasts the life of fresh cut flowers or the fulfillment of a hot meal. So what happens then? How do we help a grieving friend?

3 Ways to Remember The Person You’re Missing:

1. Gather stories to share with your kids (or future kids).  

My friend, Chris, wanted his children to know more about their grandfather, Mike. Chris posted a request on his Facebook page asking people to help him by sharing a memorable Mike story. The outpouring of touching and funny stories was overwhelming. People talked about how their lives had been deeply impacted by Mike’s love for life and generous character. I never got to meet Mike, but I am certain from the Facebook tributes that he was one phenomenal dad and friend.

2. Learn about that person’s life before you entered the picture.

My friend Anna lost her mom following a long, courageous battle with Alzheimer’s. A few weeks after the funeral, a lifelong family friend suggested, “Why don’t we get together for lunch with some of your mom’s childhood friends? We would love to share stories with you about growing up with her.” Such a priceless gift to hear from people who had known Anna’s mom forever!

3. Discover the impact your loved one made others.

Pastor Rick Warren shared a heartfelt request on Twitter following the death of his beloved son, Matthew. He asked anyone who had been touched by Matthew’s life to take a moment and send a photo or write out a memory, and pass it along via mail or email to the Warren family. I love this idea, straight from a loving dad’s heart.

How about you? Is there someone who could help you remember the person you are missing?

Consider making it part of your celebration this holiday season. A favorite part of my family’s Thanksgiving dinner is sharing funny stories about my mom. 

Need help getting started? Check out Grief Survivor, an 8-day reading plan that will encourage you to write, and trust the Lord to do what only He can do — restore joy-filled life!

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