After participating in the heart-wrenching but celebratory homegoing service for my dear family friend “Daddy Mac” who slept away peacefully at the age of 90, I am reminded of the advice my Dad gave me nearly 20 years ago about supporting friends and family who lose loved ones.
He could speak first-hand about the death of my mother when she was 28 and I was 11 months old.
Here’s what he said:
Make sure you visit or check on the friend/family member three weeks after all the “chicken and pound cake are gone.” Dad says he was so grief-stricken he really couldn’t remember who was in attendance at the service.
After you’ve asked how they’re doing, carry on a regular conversation. They may want to talk about the loss, they may not. Let the conversation play out organically.
Six weeks after the event, ask them to dinner or for coffee. Most everyone has gone back to living their lives and the bereaved is or may feel “forgotten”.
Send a note of inspiration and uplift to let them know you haven’t forgotten about them.
In other words, reach out, communicate, let them know you’re there for them. And then, be that. A simple gesture after the event means much more than you know.