Spring 2023 issue
Est. Reading: 2 minutes

Asking for a Friend

A close friend of mine has recently lost his mother. They were very close and he is very down. I don’t know what to do and I don’t know what to say.

It is difficult to know how best to proceed when someone has a bereavement. You don’t want to say the wrong thing but playing safe and not mentioning it doesn’t seem right either.

It is of course normal to be sad when you lose someone you care about. There are many stages to grief and everyone is different in how they cope and feel. There could be feelings of guilt. Some may feel relieved when somebody passes away if they have been unwell for a long time and it has been hard to watch this and support them. Sometimes people may feel they have to be strong for others, or they may feel embarrassed to be tearful and out of control emotionally. So the first thing is not to assume how your friend is feeling but let them know that you are there for them. So ask open questions in a soft or quieter voice to convey that you do care and want to support them. Such as: How are you today? How are you doing? How have you been feeling after all that has happened?

And then take your cue from their response for the conversation that follows. Remember, you won’t make him feel worse if he is already feeling upset. But your kindness will be noticed and appreciated. If your friend tells you that they are really struggling and finding it hard to keep going, suggest that they book an appointment with their GP who will be able to suggest some options to help him through. There are some helpful website too that he could look at:

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