Tips to Help Others Who Are Grieving After the Loss of a Loved One

September 13, 2021

Whether it happens unexpectedly or after a long illness, facing the death of a loved one can be a painful experience. Everyone grieves differently which makes those wanting to help often at a loss of the best manner to go about offering that help. Here are a few tips:

Bring Food

It may feel intimidating to show up on the doorstep holding a casserole, but nonetheless bringing food is a tremendous way to help, especially right away. In the days that follow the death and even beyond the funeral, there will likely be a lot of family, friends and other visitors in the home. The person grieving is in no condition to play host/hostess. Having casseroles, hams, breads, desserts, drinks, snacks and fruit dropped off allows the guests to make themselves a bite to eat whenever the mood strikes without having to bother the grieving homeowner.

Sometimes it may be helpful to coordinate the food drop-offs using tools like or depending on the size of the crowd.

Visit and Share Memories

One common misconception is to think that someone who has lost a loved one does not want to talk about that person or even hear his or her name. That could not be further from the truth. Visit the grieving friend and speak the deceased person’s name while telling stories and sharing memories. This is a vital and healthy part of the grieving process.

Take Note of Important Dates

Mark your calendar with important dates such as the birthdays, anniversaries and date of death. Especially during the first calendar year, reach out to your friend on these dates. It helps to know that someone else is thinking of you on special occasions.

Show compassion and allow your friend to grieve on his or her timetable. There is no expiration date. Everyone has a unique situation which may mean that the person grieving needs to be surrounded by family and friends more often or it may mean that the person needs more time alone. This may change as time goes on. While sympathizing for the loss, engage the friend in normal conversations and extend invitations. People who are grieving do not want to be avoided.

In the early stages, you may offer to help in various ways like running errands, watching kids or grandkids, or bringing over groceries and these offers may be met with resistance. Most people tend to avoid putting others out. Keep in mind that people deep in grief may not even know what they need at the time. It helps to make your offer to help by communicating specific tasks and making sure to imply that it is not bother to you. For example, instead of asking “What can I do to help?”, rephrase it to “I’m making an extra quiche this afternoon, can I drop it by later?”

The aftermath of death can be tricky to navigate and many people try to avoid those who are grieving. It is far better to push yourself to take some of the tips mentioned here. If you or a loved one is experiencing a recent death in the family and need the assistance of compassionate estate administration/probate attorneys, contact Stouffer Legal in the Greater Baltimore area. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at (443) 470-3599, emailing us at, or register for an upcoming free webinar using the link below:

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