9 Ways to Ease Grief

News of death

Regardless of who you are or where you come from, when someone you love dies, it blows a hole in your heart, leaves a vacant chair at your table, and changes your life forever. My experience being widowed twice in four years gives me the expertise to provide ways you can ease the agony of someone’s grief.

9 ways to ease the agony of grief. 


Look for the person who is grieving. Smile at them. Talk with her or him. Don’t avoid them because you don’t know what to say, or you feel uneasy. Push through the feeling of awkwardness; they need you.

Here’s what the American Cancer Society suggests.

  • Acknowledge the situation.
    Example: “I heard that your_____ died.”
    Use the word “died”. That will show that you are more open to talk about how the person really feels.
  • Express your concern.
    Example: “I’m sorry to hear that this happened to you.”
  • Be genuine in your communication and don’t hide your feelings.
    Example: “I’m not sure what to say, but I want you to know I care.
  • Offer your support.
    Example: “Tell me what I can do for you.”


Pray for them often and tell them that you are.

Ask them how they need God to show up in their life. Do they need provision?  How about wisdom for parenting?  What about all the decisions they have to make?

I assure you they need prayer for the grace to deal with people who will undoubtedly say inappropriate things! Could you pray for their comfort? Likely they need prayer for the pain to abate. (Grief hurts down to your bones.)


Give them time and space to grieve.

Let them cry, talk, laugh, howl and process. Grieving will probably look different than you expect and take longer than you think.


Ask them to tell you about the person who died.  

What was their person were like and what do they miss the most? Find out how they met and what they did for fun.

Grieving people need to talk about their loss.


If you knew the deceased, write a letter about them.

Share what you remember about their character, or a shared experience, or a tale that brings laughter, or an account that confirms what a great person they were.


Invite them into your world.

Have them over for dinner, or Bible Study, for a game night or to join you for a walk. They are lonely and feel awkward everywhere.  


Celebrate them.

Send cards. Take them out for birthdays and wedding anniversaries.  I can’t overemphasize the significance of these dates! 


Offer financial assistance if you can. 

Even if there is life insurance, it may not be available for months. Cash or gift cards for restaurants, oil changes, lawn service or gas stations are always appreciated.   


Remember the death anniversary.

Make a note on your calendar to send a card or flowers on the 6th & 12th month anniversary of the death. Let them know they aren’t forgotten.

Do what you can to ease the agony of grief.  

Remember, you don’t have to do all these things. Pick the ones that are easy for you. Whatever you do will make a big difference.

What would you add to the list? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you. 

Verse for the day: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18

Prayer: Lord, you know our pain in suffering and loneliness. Send your Comforter and blanket us with your peace. Be present with us and hold us close. Remind us of your salvation and refresh our hope. In Jesus Name amen


  1. Cindy Howell on January 31, 2021 at 11:35 pm


    You spoke at our church last February 2020 Murdock Baptist & just today Sunday 1/31/21 as I am filling in for our Lifegroup leader Lori whose husband passed away on 1/27/21. We decided to do your Journey to Trust study. Then this evening you send out the most appropriate email for our Lifegroup. God is amazing & knows just what we need.

    I will be ordering 4 more workbooks for our Lifegroup.

    Praising God

    • Robyn Dykstra on February 1, 2021 at 3:49 pm

      Hi Cindy,
      Way to step into Lori’s grief and lift a burden. God is so awesome to anticipate what needs to be shared at the right time.

  2. Deb on February 1, 2021 at 12:12 am

    I know this get this first hand, with the loss of your Dad.
    I am honored to pray for you often. I may not know all aspects of your daily world but we both know Our God does.
    I do know know a lot about grief but you have shared wise words.
    Love & Prayers

    We are of to a great start with “Journey to Trust “

    • Robyn Dykstra on February 1, 2021 at 3:47 pm

      Aw, Deb, you’re the best. You’ll have to keep me posted on how “Journey to Trust” is working for your group.

  3. Sally Griffin on February 1, 2021 at 11:23 am

    Thank you for this timely post. I lost my son 12 years ago, February 2, 2009. I still grieve for him and suppose I always will. Every year at this time , my sweet sister-in-law make a donation to a charitable organization in his memory. This means so much to me and shows me that she remembers him. The one thing we don’t want to happen is for our loved ones to be forgotten.

    • Robyn Dykstra on February 1, 2021 at 3:46 pm

      Oh Sally, I am so sorry. I can’t imagine. What a wonderful way to share support and show a loved one is not forgotten. Thank you for posting. Praying 2/2/21 is filled with good memories and God’s peace.

      • Marie Polito on February 1, 2021 at 6:29 pm

        If I am very close to the grieving person I will call and say “I’m coming over. ” (No one has ever said not to.) My father recently died and I wanted to sit and do nothing, but my good friend called a few days later and said “I’m coming over.” She made a decision and stated the fact. She didn’t ask or I would of said “No.” As I was grieving I didn’t have to make a decision on Do I want company? Do I want to get dressed? She made that correct decision for me. Of course this only applies to people I’m close to, or if the Lord directs me.

        • Robyn Dykstra on February 1, 2021 at 6:39 pm

          Marie, this is such good advice. I know when I was in the throes of grief, I was incapable of articulating what I needed or issuing an invitation. So glad you posted this!

  4. Gini Campbell on February 1, 2021 at 3:44 pm

    Thank You Robyn, these are very helpful tips–God bless you for sharing your heart with us, so much of which you have personally experienced! Gini

    • Robyn Dykstra on February 1, 2021 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks for posting Gini. It does feel good to be on the healing side of this. 🙂

  5. Kathleen Arndt on February 2, 2021 at 5:22 pm


    I began asking “What is your favorite hymn or song? Or the dead person’s? “Then I play and/or sing with or without them and play my harp or ukulele over faceTime, zoom, google duo.

    Thank you again for speaking at Chilton Wisconsin’s Women’s Breakaway where Ed in his tuxedo welcomes every woman at the door!

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