This morning I read a social media post by a friend who recently lost her daughter. In the post she reminded people that vague offers of help, though well intentioned, can have the effect of putting yet another burden on a person whose heart and mind are already overly taxed with grief an making decisions that they hoped they would never have to make. When we ask “How can I help?” or say “Let me know how I can help.” we are literally putting another demand on that person; now they have to stop, figure out an answer for us, then get back to us with that answer.
A better way would be to approach the grieving friend with options that he or she can answer with a simple yes or no. “Would you like me to bring you a casserole tonight?” “Can I walk your dog for the rest of the week?” Thank to my friends post, I now realize that the direct approach is mostly likely the best approach to helping a friend make it through the days or weeks following an unexpected loss.