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How to Help a Friend After Her Mom Died

Group Therapy: Comforting a Friend After a Loss

This question comes from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

My best friend's mom died last week. We've been friends since we were young children, so I knew her mom well. We both live in different states at this point in our lives, so our friendship is long distance. I want to be there for her in any way that I can, but I don't know what to say.

Do I constantly call to check up? Or does that get annoying and overwhelming? What sort of things can I say to my friend without sounding cliche or generic?


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karlotta karlotta 5 years
My Dad died last year, so I can tell you what I needed. It was great to have some check up on me several times a week (the best friends); it was great that they would listen to me talk about the horrible things (the chemo treatments, the coma... etc) without wincing, and going at it along with me : "that really sucks honey, I'm so sorry, he didn't deserve this, the world is fucking unfair" - or that they would listen to me reminisce, and tell me tons of their own memories of him, which would always end up in a lot of laughter, and a lot of tears. Sometimes they helped me think of something else, distracted me with a good restaurant or a movie. They did NOT stop telling me about their own lives or their problems, and that was great because you don't want pity, and helping others makes you feel better. And especially, they listened, never negated anything I said or felt, and always went along with my mood. It's important to be surrounded by people with whom you feel comfortable having those waves of emotion. So if you can give that to her, it will be priceless. You obviously know her mom well, and you must have many good memories of her. Tell her about them! She'll be grateful. Good luck and thank you from all of us for being such a sweet friend :)
kea718 kea718 5 years
I agree with what most people have said. Keep in contact. Make sure she knows you're there for her if she needs anything. Try to find a way to visit her. Also, try to do what you can to make her life easier. When my mom had cancer the school she works for found a couple restaurants (that also offer delivery and take-out) and basically opened a $70 tab for her so she always had a place to get food and not have to deal with it. Especially if your friend has a family that she needs to take care of (i.e. kids), it's one less thing she needs to think about. Or maybe see if a local pharmacy will be willing to do that. If you know the grocery stores in her area see if they offer home delivery and take care of that for her. It's these little, everyday things, that nobody wants to deal with in the wake of a tragedy but still need to be dealt with.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 5 years
It depends on your relationship with her, and her personality. Personally, I've sent a handmade sympathy card. It was the right and good approach for my friend.
Girl-Jen Girl-Jen 5 years
Ask. One of the sweetest, most comforting questions I've ever gotten was, "Do you want to talk about it, or do you want me to distract you?" I told her that I'd like to be distracted...and then unloaded on her about my situation and how much it sucked. She just listened. Good friend! :D
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 5 years
In addition to what others have said above, I would just add don't not call her because it's awkward and you don't know what to say. When I lost my grandmother a few of my friends did that and it was really upsetting. And, no matter what, never ever say "I know how you feel."
skigurl skigurl 5 years
I would send her flowers with a note saying you are thinking of her, and then the next time you chat (or in an email) just be honest and say "I want to be here for you, and I am willing to do anything you need, but I know this is a tough time and I don't want to overwhelm you, so please let me know if there's anything I can do and phone me at any hour of the day if you want to talk"...she will appreciate the open-ended invitation to contact you when she wants to be checked-up on
vabeachbum vabeachbum 5 years
One of my friends just lost her father a couple weeks ago, so I can understand the situation you're in. From her experience I can tell you that having people call you/text you everyday to see how you're doing gets really annoying, even if that person is close to you and has the best of intentions. I would call her once to tell her you heard and are sorry and to let her know she can call you if she needs anything/wants to talk. I know you are well-intentioned, but it does get old quick having people ask you all the time how you are doing. So I would call once and then leave it up to her to communicate. Maybe check up on her in another few days but I agree that she may want some quiet time to sort things out. I also agree that arranging a visit might be good... maybe in another month or two when she is feeling more up to it.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 5 years
First off, let me say I'm very sorry to hear about your situation. You obviously care a lot about your friend and it's unfortunate you can't be closer to support her. I would tell her to keep in touch and let you know if there's anything you can do for her, having known her since childhood I'm sure you're saddened by her mother's passing as well. I would call/e-mail/whatever a couple times a week, if she wants to talk more than that I'm sure she'll contact you. Some people want to keep in close contact after a death in the family and some want quiet time to sort out their feelings. Hopefully she'll let you know. I don't know how far or what your work/financial situation is, but if you could arrange a visit to her within the next couple months, I'm sure she would appreciate it. As far as sounding cliche, just tell her how you're feeling and that she's been on your mind. With how concerned you sound and how well you know her, I'm sure you'll be able to support her well, even from far away.
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