In the past few months I have had a couple of close friends each lose their spouse unexpectedly. I am having a very hard time communicating with them or, rather, trying to communicate with them. I don’t know what to do, or say, or how to help. I feel like I am making things worse by doing nothing, but I don’t have experience with this….HELP!
I live with a foot in my mouth anyway
Oh dear. I am so sorry to hear this. Shall we share a rosé? You know what they say…. “Rosé, rosé, it makes the pain go away.” Or maybe just I say that. And it does- at least for a few moments, anyway.
Truly, this is a tough time in your life, too. These are the moments that we dread in life, but they are so important. The way you handle them makes all the difference to someone you care about.
Huge luscious sip. I can empathize with what you are going through. This is such a painful and delicate situation. I can tell you from my experience that the friends I have had go through this all say the same thing: “Thank you for just being there.” There’s no real “right” thing to say at a time like this (though there are some wrong ones…try to refrain from “it’s God’s will” or “what are you gonna do now,” etc.). Your friends are probably overwhelmed and reeling anyway. I doubt if they’re hyper-analyzing your words, so just keep it heartfelt and simple and remember that less is more. Listening is your friend. Just be there.
Every person handles death differently and there are many stages of grief and loss, and it can wildly fluctuate back and forth between them. Be there for all of them. Handle each conversation as it comes instead of preparing a laundry list of condolences. One of the greatest feelings after a tragedy like this is that at some point, life goes on. So, maybe try to engage your friends more in activities that don’t revolve around the loss of their loved one. Go for a walk, a concert, make dinner, talk (gently) about plans for the future, if it feels okay.
If your friends need to cry, let them. If your friend needs a hug, hug them. Again, just be there for them. You are a good friend…. and with rosé to boot.