Have you heard this expression, “Love is something you do.”?

Yet, when someone we know is deeply grieving, we don’t always know what to do. We want to comfort them, make their pain go away, and let them know we care. I’ve listed 10 actions you can take to show your love and support.

Not all these ideas are right for your friend, family, or co-worker. Everyone is different and will accept different types of kindnesses. Some value having tedious chores done for them. Others are comforted by talking and sharing. It may also depend on your previous relationship and level of intimacy.

Timing makes a difference too. So if an offer is rebuffed, don’t take it personally. It’s not about you – it’s about them. Try again later or offer something different at another time.

10 Things You Can Offer to Do:

  1. Give a gift card for their favorite restaurant or take-out. Include the offer to pick it up and deliver the meal (pizza, Chinese, burritos, etc.)
  2. Organize friends and neighbors to deliver freezer meals for the first weeks or months after the traumatic event or funeral. Soups are especially comforting, can be frozen and used any time.
  3. Gather stories and anecdote about the loved one who’s gone. That’s what a friend of mine, Sherry Johnson, did for me. Every Sunday afternoon she came over for tea and told me stories about my son that she’d heard at school during the week.  We sat upstairs in the sun on my bedroom floor. I marveled at what a difference my son had made in the lives of others. Stories he had never shared with me.
  4. Collect stories, quotes from friends, anecdotes, memorial cards in a scrapbook. Offer to help make a scrapbook of the departed one’s life if there isn’t one already.
  5. Offer to water plants, mow the lawn, or weed the garden.
  6. Volunteer to do the laundry while they nap. Everyone needs clean underwear and it takes focus and energy to do the laundry. Or, pay for housekeeping services for a month or two.
  7. Give help sorting and organizing medical bills. Bring the envelopes and stamps. Sometimes just having a “buddy” help get the process started is enough.
  8. Pick your friend up for a movie or a country drive. Getting out and away from the house can be a boost. A short visit car drive may use all the energy they have – pay attention to cues.
  9. Show up with a basket of bath salts, lavender oil, lotion, a new fluffy towel, and a good book. Offer to babysit the children while they take a 20-minute soak. A hot bath will draw out built up toxins in their body and help them sleep. (1 Cup of salt and 6-8 drops of lavender oil)
  10. Swing by and take the dog for a walk or to the dog park.

Love in Action

As you can see, this list is just a start. Notice that each idea is specific. It’s an offer of something you can do, an action to take. You’re not contributing to their burden and energy drain by asking, “What can I do? What do you need?”

Your friend, relative, or co-worker may not be able to think of something or even know what they need. Put your love in action by making specific offers.

Love & blessings,