* Offer practical ways you can help. Fix a meal, take a small child out to give the family a break, help with scheduling appointments, offer a ride, etc. The person may not know what they need and they won't call and ask so you will need to offer.
* Don't be afraid to say their loved one's name. It is so important that they are included and remembered. You are not reminding them of anything they aren't already thinking about. Now they know someone else is remembering them too.
* Refrain from asking any details about the death itself. Often times, when it is not clear, outsiders out of curiosity will push for information due to their own need for closure but this is at the expense of the direct family members. If the family wants to share this information, they will. If not, take the role of a compassionate supporter only.
* Be sure to remember the deceased person's birthday and death day. Holidays are important too. It doesn't take much - a simple text or card to say you are thinking of them goes a very long way.
* Respect the person's need for privacy. Early in grief, they may request no visitors and may not return calls. They may cancel plans last minute or only want to be alone. Do not force it or judge. Simply tell them you will be there when they are ready to talk or visit.
* Be mindful of condolences. While these are well-intended and meant out of care and love, the wrong words can leave a harmful and lasting effect for years to come. "It was God's will", "cherish the memories" and "they are out of pain" does not help. Instead, consider telling the griever you are there for them or share a simple memory of their loved one in a card.
* Make a small donation or volunteer hours in the person's name to a cause they felt passionate about.
* Remember that everyone deals with grief differently. A quiet and withdrawn family member may be coping fine while another seemingly talkative and outgoing member may be really struggling. Don't place judgment if your timeframe or way isn't the same. Acceptance will promote healing.
SUDDEN, TRAUMATIC AND CHILD LOSS
Bearing the Unbearable - Joanne Cacciatore, Ph.D.
I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye - Brook Noel and Pamela Blair, Ph.D.
Transforming Traumatic Grief - Courtney Armstrong, M. Ed, LPC
An Empty Chair - Living in the Wake at a Sibling’s Suicide by Sara Swan Miller
SPOUSE AND PARTNER LOSS
Healing a Spouse’s Grieving Heart - Alan Wolfelt, Ph.D.
It’s OK that You’re Not Okay - Megan Devine
Selah: An Invitation Toward Fully Inhabited Grief (workbook) - Joanne Cacciatore, Ph.D. (Workbooks available to purchase for $10)
The Grief Recovery Handbook - John W James and Russell Friedman
Grieving is Loving (Quotes) - Joanne Cacciatore, Ph.D
Finding Meaning - David Kessler
On Grief and Grieving - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, MD and David Kessler
A Grief Observed - CS Lewis
The Wild Edge of Sorrow - France’s Weller
Restored: Your Journey from Loss to Life - Marilyn Willis, MA, LPCC, NCC
Visions, Trips and Crowed Rooms - David Kessler
Dog Heaven (pet loss) - Cynthia Rylant
Something Very Sad Happened - Bonnie Zucker
When Someone Dies - Andrea Dorn