Took a bit of time off - sad times as a friend lost her son. Been hard to think about much else. Taken too young, still a teenager. This is the third time in less than a year that a friend has lost her son.

Realize that you can talk to someone in grief - let her know you are thinking of her, praying for her, remembering her son. Don't say you know how she feels, or that you know someone who lost someone (or yourself) until later, or give advice. Offer help, offer meals, make donations, anything she might need. She might want help with informing people, taking on a commitment she'd made (like volunteering at school, for example), rearranging her schedule, setting up a GoFundMe account, or just about anything that she's too overwhelmed to think about. Just listen, say you love them, and say you're sorry. Tell her you are always there for her.

When able to think about the funeral, offer any help. It's ok if she says no, but knows you care enough to offer. There may be something later that she could use your help for - perhaps ushering at the service, or make cookies for a reception.

Grief goes through various stages - let them play out. There could be anger, sadness, forgiveness, and other emotions. Don't try to shake off the feelings from yourself or from others. Let the emotions progress as they go. The one emotion to be careful about is deep depression - keep that in check - other people need the grieving person's presence - don't her slip into thinking of ending her own life.

Keep sending reminders of offers and prayers, meet for coffee, or anything. Just let the person know she is not forgotten, and certainly don't avoid the person. She would love to hear stories and memories, have you listen to her. Maybe cry on your shoulders. Just be a rock for her to depend on.

Grief can play out in many other situations - there may be a different type of loss - a missing person, a pet, a job loss or layoff, a let-down of some other type - people will still go through similar emotions of grief. Just be there to let them lean on you, listen to them, and offer suppport. Sometimes they just need to vent.

As you offer support, don't take on any of the burden onto yourself. Stay in a good place so you don't make yourself stressed over it. It's ultimately not your problem, so don't take it on.

Grief is too all-consuming. It may be a bit tricky to help in all phases but just be there for the grieving person…

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