|My dad and his best friend.
"Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort..."
I was truly amazed at all the kindness that was shown to our family the week my mother died. My siblings and I have tried to make note of all the kind acts of service we have received. Hopefully this might spark some ideas when you want to offer comfort.
Day of Death
My mother died at 2:30 a.m. Their neighbor was there almost immediately and stayed there until he had to go to work at 8:00 a.m. He came back when he got home from work.
My sister jumped on the earliest flight she could get that day. A friend dropped off a black dress and magazines to read on the plane.
Multiple people called my brother to offer rides to and from the airport and their homes so that people didn't have to stay in hotels. We weren't able to take advantage of even a portion of the offers extended.
Day of the Viewing
Someone came to the viewing and brought small water bottles for everyone. Water at a viewing is worth more than gold.
Someone dropped off pre-packaged veggie trays. These were perfect. No dishes, no heating anything, and it was healthy too.
Someone dropped off paper plates and napkins so that we wouldn't have to do any dishes.
Someone left a 12-pack of IBC root beer to keep in the fridge.
After the viewing, an edible arrangement was dropped off at the house. Fresh fruit was exactly what we needed because of being so dehydrated.
Day of the Funeral
The family in the home where we stayed, made our family a huge breakfast. The funeral wasn't until 3:00 p.m. so we were able to eat a big breakfast full of comfort food.
Someone brought mints to the funeral. Crying = dehydration = dry mouths. Mints are a godsend.
Someone bought my mother's signature dessert, baklava, to be served at the dinner after the funeral. This made me do the ugly cry.
Day of the Burial
My mother was flown to Utah, so the burial was on a different day.
My cousin made homemade cookies and passed them out to people. Homemade goodies are very comforting.
Someone made tons of homemade bread to be served at the luncheon. We all got to take a loaf home. That bread was the perfect food to have at home.
When I got home a neighbor had dropped off homemade bread as well.
My sister came home to lots of flowers, cards, and food.
What You Can Do
Be there. I mean literally show up. Your presence says more than words ever could.
I had a second cousin jump in his car and drive two days just so that he could attend a 15-minute graveside service. That also made me do the ugly cry.
My sister's best friend, who she hasn't seen in 15 years, jumped on a plane just to attend the funeral.
My brother's best childhood friend did the same thing.
Many people hugged us and didn't let go until we let go. Being able to collapse in another's arms was wonderful.
What You Can Say
I think it is hard to say the wrong thing to someone grieving. Chances are they won't remember what you said. What they will remember is how you made them feel. If your goal is to show love and concern, then whatever you say will communicate that.
These were the comments I found especially comforting:
- Memories of my mom
- Comments my mom had told the person about me
- Observations about how I am like my mom (personality, looks, traits, etc.)
- Compliments about my mom (whether they knew her or not)
What to Avoid
While I was very grateful to everyone who came to offer condolences, a few comments weren't as comforting as others.
- Avoid telling them what their future will be like. No ones knows the future.
- Avoid projecting. If this death is causing you to worry about the day your own parent passes, keep that to yourself.
- Avoid telling them how they should mourn. Everyone mourns differently. Just mourn with them.
How did others comfort you when you were mourning the loss of loved one? Comment below.