How to Show Your Support Beyond the Funeral

As a friend or family member of someone who has experienced a death, your role does not end with the funeral. After the funeral service and any surrounding events, people grieving a loss still need the support and help of friends and family. While many people may return to work and “normal” life relatively soon after a death, they will feel a sense of loss and grief for a very long time. There are many things you can do to continue to show your support beyond the funeral.

Checking in

Continue to check in with the bereaved to reaffirm your support and care. After the hubbub of a funeral, many people who had been present for the bereaved person tend to go back to their own lives, often forgetting that the grieving person is still in pain. By letting the the bereaved know that you are still thinking of him or her, you can help make the person feel less alone.

Inviting your friend out

After a death, many people tend to move inward and spend less time socializing and getting out of the house. Inviting the bereaved to go out with you to a particular event—to the movies, a concert, or a meal—can help the person re-integrate into life. If you are met with resistance, don’t be discouraged. The grieving process is different for everyone, and for some people it is particularly long and painful. If you invite the person to come out with you and they decline, consider trying again later. Just because the person is not ready to go out now doesn’t mean he or she won’t want to go out with you in the future.

Encourage the bereaved to talk about the person who died

Whether you knew the person who died or not, encouraging the bereaved to talk about the person who died can be a welcome invitation. Many people shy away from talking about their grief, their loss, or the person who died, fearing that the topics are too personal, too “depressing,” or not interesting to others. Even if the bereaved doesn’t want to talk, knowing that you are willing to listen can be a relief.

For more advice on long-term ways to help someone who has experienced a loss, see our article Long-Term Ways to Help Someone Grieving.

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