Seven Effective Ways to Help Someone Who’s Grieving

When a loved one passes, offering to grocery shop is helpful.

You can’t erase the heartache for those who have recently lost a loved one.

However, there are things you can do to show them you care and make their lives a bit easier during their time of intense sorrow. Your gestures don’t have to be time-consuming or lavish. Especially during these trying times, even the smallest of actions are sure to be greatly appreciated by the bereaved. Here are seven simple actions that can express your support for someone who is mourning the death of a loved one.

1. Offer your help in specific ways.

Although you sympathize with the grief-stricken and want to do something to help, knowing how to reach out can be difficult. Maybe they want to be alone right now. Perhaps they’re bombarded with offers of help. Maybe they don’t know what they need. In all likelihood, they are feeling a combination of these things. That’s why one of the best things you can do is make a very specific offer of help and then let them decide if they want to accept your offer. Tailor your suggestions so that they can easily say yes or no, such as:

  • “I’m going to the grocery store this afternoon. Can I pick anything up for you?”
  • “I’m free tomorrow. Would you like some company?”
  • “Could I stop by on Friday and help you with the housekeeping?”

2. Deliver some food.

When a loved one passes, even the necessities often go by the wayside. Having basic needs met by others during this time of tragedy is a wonderful gift. Many prepared meal delivery services are available today and they offer extensive menu choices to suit a wide variety of dietary preferences and needs. If you’d rather prepare something yourself, freezer-friendly main dishes like meatloaf or a casserole are smart options. Add to the convenience by using disposable containers.

3. Don't avoid talking about the person who passed away.

He or she is still very much in the mind of your grieving friend. Instead, share fond recollections or describe how the departed had a positive influence on you in some way.

4. Talk about your own experiences with loss.

Similar bereavement stories can be really helpful, so don’t be afraid to share them with your friend. In the early days of grief, it’s important to know that it’s survivable and that happiness will return in time. 

5. Avoid judgments.

Keep in mind that your friend's life and emotional landscape have changed enormously. You may wish to get past it, but you can't speed up the grief process. Let your friend heal in the manner that’s right for him or her.

6. Offer practical support by taking care of the little things.

There are probably plenty of ways that you can lessen the burden of routine life requirements for someone who is grieving. What recurring tasks or chores might you be able to do? Things like cutting the lawn or picking up groceries are good choices. If you aren’t in the position to respond to a more involved need such as landscaping or house cleaning, consider purchasing a gift card so your friend can hire someone at his or her convenience.

7. Be there, now and later.

At the time of the funeral or memorial service, many people will offer help and encouragement to the bereaved person. But as the weeks and months pass, their lives move on and that support tends to wane. Be the one who follows up, listens, and continues to be present. Whether it’s sending a card every month, making periodic phone calls, or sending weekly emails, your ongoing efforts will be very important to the person who is grieving.

There is no ‘right way’ to offer help. Any act of kindness on your part will be well received by those who are mourning. It’s never too early or too late to show how much you care.

Your steadfast love and reassurance can make a world of difference to the bereaved. Please contact us for other supportive ways you can assist someone through their journey of loss. We’re always here for you.

About Evan W. Smith Funeral Services: Since 2009, residents of Wilmington, Dover, and the surrounding Delaware community have relied on the caring staff at Evan W. Smith Funeral Services to help them through their darkest hours. Family-owned and operated, the company offers an array of elite funeral care services, including traditional funerals, cremations, memorials, pre-planning, and more. With decades of experience in caring for families from all cultural backgrounds and diverse walks of life, Evan W. Smith Funeral Services is committed to creating memorable, uplifting experiences that always exceed expectations. For more information, please visit

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