We talk a lot about how to support someone who’s grieving. But what about the close friend – the grief-adjacent person? The support person in the “inner circle”? Today we talk about how to comfort the comforter.

People rarely realize the enormous energy spent in keeping-it-together. Holding, listening, supporting the one in throes of agony. And often they are grieving themselves.

They need you to walk along beside them. To uplift and encourage them in their role.

Reach out

Call, text, send a card. Let them know you’re thinking of them, especially in their position as a close companion to the bereaved.

Be present

Keep your thoughts in the now. Offer a listening ear and other kindnesses. Use your mindful listening and focus on how they’re feeling.

Third, let them decide how much to share. This is NOT a gossip time. You don’t need details of the death – it’s not your business. You don’t even need to know how the bereaved is doing.

Comfort the comforter

Your focus is on befriending and comforting the comforter. Theirs is a heart-wrenching role.

If you send a card, here’s an example of what you could say:

Dear Sue,

The news of Mary’s loss was an unexpected shock. Because you’re a close friend, your love and support will be needed for a long time.  You are held in my thoughts as you walk this difficult journey of grief with her. And I’m here for you if you need a warm cup of tea and a hug of friendship.

If you live close by, consider dropping the note off along with some 7-UP and fresh lemons. This combo magically cuts the headache one gets from sobbing. I don’t know how it works – it just does.

Don’t let your discomfort with grieving stop you from reaching out. Read this article: Grief is NOT Contagious

Your turn to share

If you’ve ever been the main support person for a loved one in grief, what helped you be strong? What are your ideas for supporting a grief-adjacent person?

Love all around, above, below, to the left and to the right, before you and behind you,


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