How to Help Grieving Loved Ones

First off, thank you for being there for the loved ones in your life who’ve lost someone!  Just the fact that you’ve found this page and are looking for ways to support them means a lot.

And for those of you who are grieving, feel free to use this anyway you’d like.  You can send a link to this page, sign up to download the pdf and forward on to others, or print and hand it out. You may also just want to use it as your own resource, taking what you like and leaving what you don’t, to share with your loved ones.

Instead of offering ideas based only on my own experience I asked a broad network of people who’ve gone through profound loss for what helped and what didn’t help them.

Please hear me, and all the other people who shared. Let me repeat,

THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO IS SHOW UP. Be there. And not just in the weeks after but a month, months and years down the road.

What do we mean by that?

  • Mention the deceased person’s name.
  • Listen to me, whether I’m laughing or crying and let me talk about my deceased loved one.
  • Set up a standing date to just be together.


  • Don’t ignore what happened.
  • Don’t give advice, just listen and empathize.
  • Don’t tell me: “He’s at peace now”, “He’s in a better place now”, or “He’s out of pain now”. First, it doesn’t take away the pain. It just makes me feel more alone than ever knowing you have NO IDEA how little those platitudes matter. Secondarily, your belief system may not be mine; you have no idea where he/she is.

Grief is not easy for anyone but being a kind, thoughtful friend WILL always be remembered. And please forgive me for the times I seem not to care, or come across as ungrateful or rude. My mind and my heart are overwhelmed. You are appreciated.

For more ideas, explanations, and TANGIBLE ways to help sign up for an email and downloadable pdf on Giving good support click here.