How To Console a Grieving Friend

by autumn on October 21, 2010 · 3 comments

If consoling and nurturing are second nature to you, you are blessed.

For me it’s not.  I tend to freeze up and fear that I’ll do more damage than good.

Unfortunately, I have an opportunity to console a grieving friend and I do not want to mess up.  So, I did some research.

Here are tips that I’ve learned from other mothers that have lost infants:

  • Molly is John Piper’s daughter-in-law.  Her and her husband Abraham have 5 children.  Their second child was born stillborn at 39wks 4days. Praise the Lord, 11 months later they welcomed their 3rd child into their hearts.  #4 and #5 just joined the family in August this year.  Molly has a wonderful list of posts on her right sidebar about consoling a grieving friend.  Last night I couldn’t stop reading! I used to read Molly’s blog but never realized she had these resources available.
  • On a mothering forum many of the moms offered similar suggestions as Molly:
  1. Cry with them
  2. Bring meals.
  3. Clean their home.
  4. Talk about their lost one.
  5. Don’t ask open-ended questions.
  6. Don’t expect them to be over it in 3m, 6m, 1yr….
  7. Pray for them continuously.
  8. Don’t try to cover up their grief with comments like, “you can have more children”. While this may be true, it might not and regardless that doesn’t help their grief.
  9. Don’t avoid them. They don’t have a contagious disease…well actually they do, but you want to catch it.  It’s a disease called empathy.  As Christians, we need to learn to empathize, show compassion and love those who are hurting.
  10. My own suggestion: offer scriptures to encourage and bless. I know for me in times of stress I don’t have the energy to look up every scripture that applies to my situation.  When I find a compilation of scriptures dealing with that subject it always helps me to meditate and pray on those words.

In addition to these practical tips, understanding the concept of suffering is extremely important.  At the recent Desiring God conference Randy Alcorn gave a phenomenal presentation titled Difficult Truths & Deep Love: Pondering Sovereignty, Suffering, and the Promise of Heaven.

I know I’m ready to wrap my arms around my friend.  Letting down my walls is something I need to do anyways.  I pray that I bring her a sliver of comfort in this terrible moment of pain.

Photo used with permission

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1 Leslie October 21, 2010 at 8:30 p

I love this Autumn! It’s so true, so many just don’t know what to say. I lost my mom when I was 17, and I can’t tell you how many people said they were sorry, and though I understand that’s the typical thing to say, it became overwhelming after a while. One person actually loved me enough to tell me the truth, that it was always going to hurt, but that eventually, with time, the pain lessens…By a strange act of coincidence, my stepdaughter’s best friend (age 17) lost her mom last year. I had the opportunity now to do for someone else. What did that family appreciate the most? They appreciated the frozen meals in their freezer that many people left for them. They appreciated people coming over constantly, because the silence sometimes was their worst enemy. And they appreciated someone to talk to….a hug…a prayer. Your article is wonderful Autumn, and no matter what you do for them, it will be right and Heaven sent…

2 Lisa~ October 22, 2010 at 8:30 p

Oh what great thoughts. I can’t stop thinking about this sweet couple and their loss. I can only assume that is the Lord keeping them on my mind so that I will continue to pray. You are so wise to seek advice from those who have been there. It is so hard to know what to do. Lisa~
Lisa~ last blog post..Here’s a Story- ‘Bout a Lovely Lady ♫My ComLuv Profile

3 Heather Wisker October 22, 2010 at 8:30 p

I have another number to add to your wonderful list Autumn. #11 After being there through huge losses with several of my friends, I learned that there is a time of anger. Some take this out as an anger to God for allowing this to happen or it can be felt towards the “rest of the world” who seem to be going on with life and enjoying their families. Listen and don’t judge. It’s just so hard to understand a loss like this. I pray they will find comfort.

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