My “Foodie Friend” and I enjoyed a lavish five-course meal at a 5-star restaurant to celebrate my birthday. When picking up my phone to snap another picture of the elaborate entrée, I noticed a text from my neighbor.

It sucked the air out of me.

“I just wanted you to know in advance of seeing you in person, that my younger brother took his life today and has started his ascension to a higher place. Light a candle if you will.”

Once again, I was called to companion another person in grief.

You may be called upon next.

But remember, YOU are not alone as a grief companion. There are many tools to support you as you comfort others.

Here’s what I did after getting my neighbor’s text message.

Day 1: I returned his text later that evening when back home.

Day 2: The next morning I placed an arrangement of greenish mums and pussy willows by his front door. The enclosed card read:

The candle is burning brightly for your brother. (Picking up on his request)

I am home all day so stop anytime for a hug. (But he did not stop)

Enfolding you in love during this tragic time.

(Different than the cliché Thoughts and Prayers)

On the left-hand side of the card I wrote:

There’s a copy of my book waiting for you when you’re ready.

Our Suicide Bereavement Support Group meets the third Monday night of each month. You may ride with me.

The point is – I kept it simple. Grief is overwhelming. I only delivered flowers and a card.

Some other lines I’ve written in the past (and you can use):

Surrounding you with loving memories of _______ (name of the one who’s died)

Sending a long, strong virtual hug (text message)

Sending a long, strong hug across the miles

I am your lighthouse. Ready to listen. I will check in with you by phone later today. (text message)

In-person greeting: I just had to see you, to hug you, to love on you in this tragic time.

Day 3: I sent him my Virtual Gift Basket. It will arrive in his email inbox.

You can check it out here:

Day 4: I sent him a Deluxe Gift Box purchased from Leslie at A Grief Warrior. They even write your card for you!!

You can see what comes in the gift box by clicking here:

So, go forward in confidence.

You can comfort those around you who are in the pain of grief. Use these ideas and tools. YOU are not alone. There are many tools to support you.

Get more ideas, tips, and tools here:

Please share your ideas about comforting the grieving with the community and me by clicking reply.

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


P.S. I “met” Leslie, creator of A Grief Warrior, through Christine Pitawanich from Channel 8 here in Portland. Here’s the link to the program we were on recently:

I’ve since met with Leslie and she is a gem. Check out her website and gifts for the grieving.