When someone close to you passes away, the really tough part is often after the shiva or initial mourning period. The flood of people through your house is gone and there aren’t as many distractions. It can be lonely and the loss of the loved one that much more apparent, which is why showing your ongoing support after the first few days is just as important, if not more so. Here are some proactive things you can do to help your friend or family member:
- Set a regular time that you will meet up with them. This will be something they can look forward to that will be in their calendar as a regular occurrence.
- Continue to stay in touch via text, email or phone calls. A simple “I’m thinking of you today.” Don’t get insulted if your messages aren’t returned right away, the person will see and feel that they are loved, they may just not be ready to communicate that day. Keep trying, while not being overbearing.
- Try to tackle a project with them. Cleaning up the house, going through old clothes, etc. Whatever project they need to tackle, offer to tackle it with them.
- Send flowers or even a small treat on a regular basis. Just because you are thinking of them. Something to brighten their day.
- If they have kids, offer to babysit to give them a break.
- Other than food gifts, these are great things to bring to someone who is grieving. [Link to story about ‘other things to bring or do to support someone who is grieving’].
- Depending on their situation, for instance if they are very overwhelmed, a widow/widower who is elderly or one who has young children, you may want to continue to send them meals and organize a rotation with your friends/neighbors.
Most importantly, don’t disappear after a few weeks. Be consistent. Be there for them and continue to stand by their side. Grief does not go away overnight.