I need suggestions on dealing with a grieving friend

  1. I have so far escaped having to deal with the death of someone close to me. My friend and co-worker came home last week to find her husband had committed suicide in her home. Apparently this closely followed their separation and her subsequent petition for a divorce. They had been living apart for a couple of months when this happened.

    I am so shocked, saddened and yes, angered. I just need to know how I can possibly best be of any assistance to her. I know she is burdened with pain and guilt. She tried for years to make the marriage work, but I know she feels responsible for his death.
  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   VivaLasViejas
    This is a tough one. All I can say is, just BE THERE for her, and let her know it. "Being there" can mean anything from letting her cry on your shoulder, to cooking meals for her, even to standing between her and the well-meaning people who just don't know what to say (and usually say the wrong things). If you offer her assistance and she doesn't know what she wants/needs you to do, just watch and listen carefully; her non-verbal clues will tell you how to proceed.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you both.
  4. by   fluffwad
    Sometimes people need to hear someone else tell them that it is not their fault. My gut reaction to this guy committing suicide in her home is that he was trying to get back at her.
  5. by   akcarmean
    I know this isn't exactly the same but I had a stillborn child @ full term. I was 4 days away from due date. From the time they induced labor and she was born they determined that she had only been gone for about 9 hours. Labors was about 5 hrs start to finish. She was already gone before labor was induced. She was 7lbs. 4 oz 21 in long. NO answers to her death. I blamed myself for years.

    so this is where I am coming from with my suggestions of blaming yourself.

    Make sure YOU ARE THERE doesn't mean you have to say a word. Just lend a shoulder. Make sure she is eating and taking care of herself. Review what the s/s of depression are. If you see them urge her to get help, counsoling etc. Help her cook, clean, errands,

    WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT let her isolate herself, the worst thing that can happen. This is where I ended up and I am lucky I am here today.

    Hope this helps. It's better to not say anything than to say something wrong or hurtful. Speaking from experience.

    Just say I am here.

  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I agree with Marla. Just BE THERE....be geniune and caring. be available and willing to listen. For me, that is the most important thing that helps me.
  7. by   nurseygrrl
    My best friend recently lost her sister and another friend within a week of each other and both suddenly. She told me that the best thing I did for her was to call her every day twice a day. The first call was to listen to her and let her vent and the second was always to make her laugh, or try to get her mind off things by telling her silly things that happened at work. I asked her out to lunch every day and told her I'd ask her until she was ready. The best thing is to be there and let them know that you're not 'just saying' you're there...truly be a friend.
  8. by   barefootlady
    Attempt to be as nonjudgemental as possible towards the spouse who committed suicide.
    Give friend opportunity to cry, rage, feel depressed, but look for a counselor or a group that deals with suicide. Gently encourage friend to go to counselor. Agree to go along for moral support.
    Do not push friend to start getting out with other people, but offer to take her on a drive to a quiet, beautiful spot where she will see something besides 4 walls and memories.
    Offer to do her nails and while her hands are soaking, let her talk. You can nod your head from time to time but let her talk.
    Make sure she is eating and drinking plenty of water.
    Do not suggest sleeping pills for lack of sleep, yard work, house cleaning, a long walk are better than pills.
    Keep being positive and urging her into counseling, she can come throught this, just takes time.
  9. by   CHATSDALE
    I how much grief a person has to be going through to take their own life...but it is still a very selfish act to the ones who are affected
    i agree that a support group or counselor will help but nothing takes the place of a good friend who understands
  10. by   shopgal
    My cousins recently had twin girls and one lived and one died and they have had so many people say the stupidest things to them like, "Well, at least you didn't have time to get attatched." Can you believe it? Anyway, Jen, the mother, said that the best thing that I've done for her is just to get her out of the house. I don't mean a big event, I just call her up and we go to the craft store or Target, but she said that it really has helped her not to just shut-down. I watch their kids a lot for them too so that they can just have time together too. I think that it wouldn't be inappropriate to look into some kind of counseling for your friend too. It doesn't mean that she's crazy, it's healthy. Good luck to you, you and your friend are in my prayers.