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How to Show Sympathy for a Friend After They Lose a Loved One

Posted by willowtree on March 25th, 2020

Losing a loved one is never easy, and everyone experiences and expresses grief differently. It may be a comfort to share stories or gifts with your friend, or they may need space and time to process. If you’re not sure how to help your friend, bereavement gifts can let them know you are thinking about them during a hard time, and invite them to open up to you if they feel able.

Send a Simple Message

Write a message to your friend. It can be easier to express yourself when you have as much time as you need to write down and edit your thoughts. Share stories of their loved one if you knew them. It’s a quiet but cathartic way to let your friend know that you love them, especially if you do share their sense of loss. If you would prefer, you might want to pour out your heart onto paper, and never send it. Instead, start again and send the second version to your friend. Writing down everything that comes into your mind first, then editing your thoughts later, is a great way to make sure you send the right message.

Consider Bereavement Gifts

Comforting memorial gifts are a way to both express your feelings without needing to say a word and provide something thoughtful for your friend to remember their loved one by. One good idea might be an angel with wire wings and hands crossed over her heart, a small golden heart above her hands, and her dress carved with images of nature. You can also add a personalized shelf for the figurative sculpture, with a name inscribed on it. The angel is a gift that expresses sympathy, comfort, and remembrance, as well as fond memories.

Share Photos

Look through your phone and share any photos you may have of your friend together with their loved one. Photos that your friend might have forgotten that you took can help them to talk about meaningful moments with their loved one. If possible, get together with your friend to reminisce in person, but be prepared for them to say “no, not right now.” If you do meet with them, see if they want to share photos and stories, as well, and be a good listener. They may need to talk about what they are experiencing, and whether or not you can directly relate to their loss, they might appreciate it if you take the time to just listen. Often, you won’t need to say anything.

Offer Help

Offer to help your friend around the house: bring them food, go shopping, or even mow the lawn. Don’t put the onus on them by telling them to let you know when they need help. Instead, make specific offers. Mention you are going grocery shopping and ask if you can pick up anything. Offer to mow the lawn next weekend. Ask if next Tuesday is good for you to bring over dinner. Plus, you can use the time to connect with your friend and see if they need to talk, giving them chances to talk and grieve. Always remember not to be offended if they turn down your requests or ask you to stop offering to help. Grief manifests in so many different ways. Your friend will open up when they’re ready.

About Willow Tree®

The relationships and strong bonds forged between our family, friends, and pets are on display with Willow Tree® figurines. The intimate line of artwork from artist Susan Lordi is easy to recognize, characterized by a simplicity of form and gestures such as the placement of the hands or a turn of the body to reveal emotion. Each piece is cast from the original hand carvings that Susan Lordi makes in her Kansas City, Missouri studio, and then painted by hand. Willow Tree® offers an extensive collection of meaningful figurative sculptures, cake toppers, ornaments, wall plaques, and much more.

Browse the entire Willow Tree® collection for thoughtful memorial gifts at

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Also See: Willow Tree, Wall Plaques, Susan Lordi, Share Stories, Friend, Share, Loved

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