Loss is never easy, but oftentimes the pain of death is compounded when the deceased was a veteran. Whether you’re at a funeral home in Chalmette, LA or long after the service is over, how can you help a friend that’s lost a veteran? These tips for how to help a friend after the loss of a veteran can help:
1. Don’t Avoid: It may feel easier to avoid a grieving friend, but it’s the worst thing you can do. A hug, kind word, or a supportive presence can go a long way. If you can’t think of what to say, a simple “I’m sorry” is all you need.
2. Let Them Cry: Crying is an important part of expressing grief, so never say “don’t cry.” Its ok to just be there when someone is crying, offering a hug or tissues, or even just a calming presence.
3. Support Past the Funeral: Grief doesn’t stop after the bereaved leave the funeral home, so your support shouldn’t either. Keep checking in in the following weeks. A phone call or a text of support is great. Don’t be offended if they don’t want to talk, as grief can make concentrating or talking difficult.
4. Share: It can be helpful to hear similar bereavement stories; so, don’t be afraid to share. It makes people feel better to know that others have gotten through the grief.
5. Don’t Talk About a Dead Pet: Never compare their loss to your loss of a pet. It’s not comparable and can be very insulting.
6. Mention the Deceased: Don’t be afraid to talk about the deceased. You might make them cry, but that’s ok! It feels good to know that the deceased isn’t gone from everyone’s thoughts and memories.
7. Mark Big Dates: Note important dates like birthdays or anniversaries and be sure to reach out around those times for extra support down the line.
8. Remind Them Grief Isn’t Short: Be sure to express that you understand the grieving process is lengthy, and that you will be there throughout. Bereaved can feel lonely or even abandoned after leaving the funeral home, so make sure they know you’re still there.
9. Let Them Bring Up Religion First: Don’t make it about religion until the bereaved do. Everyone has different beliefs, and you don’t want to accidentally offend.
10. Laughing is Good: Don’t be afraid of making them laugh. Offer up silly stories of your day, or even happy memories of the deceased.
11. Help with Everyday Tasks: Grief is physically and mentally debilitating, so it can be hard to accomplish seemingly easy tasks like cooking or cleaning. Help out by offering to cross things off the to-do list like grocery shopping, cooking a meal, or mowing the lawn.
12. Provide Funeral Help: It can be hard to plan and host a funeral, and help is always welcome. Even a small thing like bringing flowers or offering to go with them to sign the death certificate is meaningful.