We have all been in that situation when someone we care about loses someone they love. They are struck by intense grief and pain and it is so hard to know what to say. Its so awkward and difficult to think of anything appropriate to say or do. We all know death but when it comes, its so shocking. The grief a person feels can be overwhelming. How it effects each person is also very different. For some they go into a state of shock and numbness while others cry and scream. Therefore, how do we help? What should we say? It’s not a situation that can made better but there must be something we can do, to at least provide some comfort and support.
۞ رَبِّ قَدْ ءَاتَيْتَنِى مِنَ ٱلْمُلْكِ وَعَلَّمْتَنِى مِن تَأْوِيلِ ٱلْأَحَادِيثِ ۚ فَاطِرَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ أَنتَ وَلِىِّۦ فِى ٱلدُّنْيَا وَٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ ۖ تَوَفَّنِى مُسْلِمًا وَأَلْحِقْنِى بِٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ
“My Lord, You have given me power to rule and the knowledge of interpreting events. O Creator of the heavens and the Earth, You are my guardian in this world and the Hereafter. Make me die a Muslim and make me join the righteous.” Surah Yusuf, 12:101
First and foremost, grief is experienced differently by each person. It can be an emotional roller-coaster which can sometimes feel never ending. For many it is something they never get over but just learn to live with. During this time is when we can really be there to help and provide support both physically and emotionally. If you are wondering how to help a grieving friend, here are some simple ways to show compassion during their hour of need.
Grief is different for everyone
As everyone reacts to grief differently, do your best to avoid telling your friend what they should be doing or feeling. Let them express their grief in whatever way they are comfortable in. That could be by crying, talking or reading Quran.
Your friend is probably experiencing emotions they have never felt before. This may make them angry and lash out at anyone and everyone. Don’t take this personally and just be there to support them while they are going through what can be a very frightening time.
Be there to listen
One way your friend may want to deal with their grief is by talking. They may want to share memories or even vent about what’s happened. They might want to talk at strange times in the day so be there to listen and comfort them even if it’s just listening on the phone. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions as this can help them talk more openly about their feelings and loved one. At the same time if they don’t want to talk then just sit with them, which can be such a comfort in itself.
Give them time
Keep in mind the time it takes for someone to get over grief is very different from one person to the next. For that reason, you need to be patient and give them all the time they need. Don’t take offence if they still don’t feel up to socialising or meeting up months later.
Try to offer practical support when you can. Your friend may not have the motivation to do anything. Therefore, whatever you can help with will really be appreciated. This can include helping with funeral arrangements, cooking food for them and picking up the kids from school.
Support after the funeral
This is the point when your friend will need you the most. It is at this point that they will have to get back to normal life while carrying the heavy burden of grief. We all have such busy lives and sometimes forget to check in on friends. A simple text message asking about them can make a world of difference, at a time when they can be feeling very lonely. Getting in touch and remembering birthdays or anniversaries can really help your friend with there well-being and feelings of isolation.
In short, at times of grief everyone needs all the support they can get because it truly is a massive test from Allah but that is what it is, a test. Allah is all merciful and compassionate and he gets us through with the help of kindness and support from friends.
فَإِنَّ مَعَ ٱلْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا
“So undoubtedly, along with hardship there is ease.” Surah Ash-Sharh 94:5
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