Grief support: You want to help, but knowing how can be difficult. Ask questions, offer advice, and learn how others have helped those close to them heal.

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I think it depends on your relationship with the bereaved person, but sometimes just "being there" is very helpful. It can be hard to find a supportive friend who will simply listen to you, or even just keep you company. It seems that when a friend approaches us with any sort of problem, we frequently feel pressured to offer solutions or reasons that this friend should not feel bad. We simply aren't used to being approached with problems to which there are no solutions, so we end up either avoiding a grieving friend, or offering some trite reason why they shouldn't be sad.

I think it's somewhat easier to decide what kind of support to provide if you think of it as providing your friend with the opportunity to grieve in a healthy way. Then you can decide how you can be helpful, either by running errands for them, sharing good memories, listening, or giving them space.
I agree that people feel that they don't know what to say so they just don't visit at all. As you mentioned just being there is comforting enough and lets them know you care. Another comforting thought is that there is a solution. At Acts 24:15 we see that there is a hope of seeing our loved ones again under better conditions.
Do not pressure them to stop grieving There, there, now, don’t cry we may want to say. But it may be better to let the tears flow. I think it’s important to allow bereaved ones to show their emotion and really get it out
Resist the tendency to tell others how they should feel. And do not assume that you have to hide your feelings in order to protect theirs. Instead, weep with people who weep
One of the most helpful things you can do is to share the bereaved one’s pain by listening. Some bereaved persons may need to talk about their loved one who has died, about the accident or illness that caused the death, or about their feelings since the death. So ask: “Would you care to talk about it?” Let them decide
Assure them that they did all that was possible (or whatever else you know to be true and positive). Reassure them that what they are feeling—sadness, anger, guilt, or some other emotion—may not be at all uncommon. Tell them about others you know of who successfully recovered from a similar loss.

Make yourself available, not just for the first few days when many friends and relatives are present, but even months later when others have returned to their normal routine. In this way you prove yourself to be “a true companion
IF THERE’S anything I can do, just let me know. This is what many of us say to the newly bereaved friend or relative. Oh, we sincerely mean it. We would do anything to help. But does the bereaved one call us and say: I’ve thought of something you can do to help me? Not usually. Clearly, we may need to take some initiative if we are truly to assist and comfort one who is grieving.
My mother-in-love died this past May 21st. Mami had been ill and the family consented to surgery. She had huge gall stones, something had burst and a preferated bowel. Her lungs filled with fluid and she also had a heart attack. My husband's brother and sisters had been saying to go, then to wait, then to go and then to wait. Mami was in Mexico and we live in Pennsylvania. My husband was not able to go to see her as he usual each year, this past Christmas. So, he was planning to go this Christmas...we all were.
At any rate, the afternoon of the 19th my husband, his sister and my son left for Mexico. While they were on the way in Arkansas, mami died. My nephew called and told me, and he had called and told my husband.
Afraid that they might have an accident, my nephew called my husband back telling him that she was still hanging on.
When my husband arrived at the hospital, he asked for his mom..obviously she wasn't there..so he drove to his neighborhood.
The neighbor there told him that his mother was being viewed in a funeral home in downtown. He went, and arriving at the casket, he passed out.
I guess I have not been very supportive, and myself have not been dealing well with how he is grieving. I pushed him away and nagged.He moved out and then came home. Its just is always angry and complaining.
I don't want to be like this, but I am grieving too. Its so hard to see past the pain. I love him and want to help him.
He only seems close to my girls. He is even being hard on our son who he was/ is very close to. He refuses counseling and is quiting his job in December to go back to Mexico.
This time he isn't sure how long he'll be there. One, two, three months. He is working 126 hours every two weeks and is never home.
We argue constantly and I have had enough....but I love him and want to be supportive. He refuses to have anything to do with church or God. I just keep praying.
What do I do, how can I help....is there any hope for us?
I am so afraid to loose him too. There is so many other issues. He has become hard and bitter. He said he is done being compassionate. He is not speaking to two of his sisters...and pouring all of his money in to building in Mexico. He seems to be blaming himself and dealing with alot of guilt..for not being there?
Help,please!
Thanks...`
The hardest part sometimes when watching a friend lose someone close is feeling powerless and not know how to help them. We so wish we could just stop their pain. Yet we are not powerless. Our love and support for our grieving ones can be shown in many ways.

A Bible Proverb says “As apples of gold in silver carvings is a word spoken at the right time for it.”(Proverbs 15:23). There is wisdom in knowing what to say or not to say, what to do and what not to do.

Listen: James 1:19 says be “Swift about hearing”. One of the most helpful things any of us can do is just share in a persons pain by just giving them a sympathetic ear. Some may need to talk about the circumstances surrounding their death, or just about their feelings since. It’s even ok to ask “Would you care to talk about it?” Let them decide. Listening patiently and sympathetically, never feeling you have to provide answers or solutions, but allow them to express whatever they want to share.

Provide Reassurance: Assure them that they did all that was possible (or whatever else you know to be true and positive). Sadness, anger, guilt, or some other emotion, reassure them that way they are feeling is not uncommon.

Be Available. Make yourself available even months later when others have returned to their normal routine, not just for the first few days when many friends and relatives are present. In this ways as Proverbs 17:17 says your prove yourself to be a true companion who stands by a friend in a time of distress.

Take the appropriate initiative. They many need errands run, or children watched , some may have visiting friends or relatives that need a place to stay. It’s not uncommon that a grieving one is stunned so that they do not know what they need to do, let alone tell others how they may help. So if you discern a genuine need, it’s ok to not wait to be asked; take the initiative. (1 Corinthians 10:24)

Also be patient and understanding. You may be surprised what a bereaved person may say. But emotions are running high and they may feel angry and guilty. If emotional outbursts are directed at you, it will take patience and insight on your part to not respond with irritation. “Clothe yourselves with the tender affections of compassion, kindness, lowliness of mind, mildness, and long-suffering, recommends the Bible at Colossians 3:12 and 13.

Also don’t overlook the value of a letter of condolence or a sympathy car d. Nor forget the power of prayer. The Bible says “A righteous man’s supplication… has much force” at James 5:16. Just hearing you pray in their behalf can help them allay such negative feelings as guilt.
It's all too easy to give advice about how to support a bereaved friend or family. But when actually confronted with the situation, things may not be as easy. I find myself guilty of not knowing what to do. But the Bible gives us practical advice about becoming and remaining "a true companion...all the time" and to be "a brother...born for when there is distress" (Proverbs 17:17).

When my mother was diagnosed with cancer, a friend really proved to be there for me. She just sat there listening, to mostly my tears, because I really didn't know what to say. But more importantly, I cannot forget that she prayed with me. This provided me the needed strength to endure and to continue turning to Jehovah God in such a time of distress.

But most importantly, the Bible's hope of better conditions in the near future, when there will be no more death, nor mourning, nor outcry, nor pain, can truly comfort a bereaved person (Revelation 21:4).
its been two years since one of my best friends that i served with died in iraq. ive always been very close to him and his wife. im one of the few people she would still talk to on a regular basis. (2-3 times a week) up until last month she told me she didnt feel like chating and that she needed some time to herself. which i completely understand. she told me that it would be a week or so until she got back to me. i told her to take all the time she needs. its been almost a month and a half and i know grief has no time table. i try and call her every couple of weeks but she doesnt answer. shes taken down all the pictures of her husband and her from facebook and she deleted her old profile and put up a new one. she confirmed me as a friend but still wont talk. i want to be there for her but i cant force my help on her. i guess my concerns are how do i support her without pushing her away. and has anyone been through what she has and can they give me their perspective. i fear im alittle to close to the situation to see it clearly.

Definitely depends on the relationship first and foremost.  I have learned the hard way that sometimes just listening for hours, being a shoulder to cry on or simply just sit with someone is all that is needed.  I think at times that trying to be helpful can be misconstrued for a lack of compassion and when someone is drowning in grief they have little or no control over their emotions.  Be there and do your best to be what they need, not what you think they need.

I can tell you what not to do/say... everything my husband is doing/saying during my grief.  He continues to tell me that I am not being sensitive to his needs while I just lost my only sister with whom I was very close.  He even left for two nights because he "needed to get away from me, didn't have a choice."

Do not be selfish, give the grieving person time and always be there for them.  Even little texts throughout the days to let them know you're thinking of them.  Sometimes the sadness will knock you down with incredible force, it must be nice to have someone to lean on during those times.  I know that I wish I did. I can imagine that affectionate gestures would be helpful... I am considering finding those myself (not from my husband, of course.) 

I believe many can find comfort in the words of the Bible. Scriptures like John 5:28,29; Revelation 21:4,5; and Psalm 37:29 have helped me with the grieving process recently. The resurrection hope has become so real to me, and I think about it every day. But I have realized that holding on to this hope does not fill the void, it rather helps sustain us to continue to fight until the end. I hope all can find comfort in the scriptures listed.

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