When a friend or family member experiences the death of a loved one, we quickly offer our condolences and help. Listed here are eight practical suggestions for helping a friend or family member that has just suffered a loss.
1. Offer to answer the telephone or answer emails at the family's home. Telephone calls and email can take up a considerable amount of time. Take messages and give information to friends and family.
2. Volunteer to notify everyone of funeral arrangements. Make calls or send out emails to help keep everyone informed.
3. Accompany a friend or loved one to the funeral home. Listen quietly, and offer suggestions and comments only when asked.
3. Bring food to the family, or give a restaurant gift card, so that the family can select the food items that they prefer.
4. Offer childcare if the family has small children. Come to their house, so that the children are in their own environment during this stressful time.
5. Offer to take family pets for a few days.
6. Help with funeral printing needs. Help create and print funeral programs or memorial folders, or help address envelopes for thank you cards.
7. Host a reception or repast at your home, church or community center. This saves the family significant time and energy of planning, hosting and cleaning up.
8. Offer to photograph the funeral or memorial services. Many family members and friends are usually present during this time, and it is the perfect time to get up to date pictures of everyone. You can also assemble the photos in a nice scrapbook or photo album and give it the family. The family will appreciate the photos well after the funeral services.
Supporting a friend or family member is very important during this difficult time. Often times, people are reluctant to ask for help, so it helps to offer help with specific tasks. Helping your friends and family during their time of loss will always be remembered and greatly appreciated.