9 Ways You Can Help A Grieving Heart

My heart breaks as I listen to the news of
killings in our country and around the world.

Regardless of who you are or where you come from,
when someone you love dies,
it blows a hole in your heart,
changes your life forever.

My experience being widowed twice in four years
gives me the courage to say
you can make a difference in the process of grief.

 Here are 9 ways to help mitigate the agony when
tragedy strikes close to home.


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 advice from the American Cancer Society about that.

It is common to feel awkward when trying to comfort someone who is grieving.
Many people do not know what to say or do.
Here are suggestions to use as a guide.

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.

Ask what they were like. 
Ask what they miss the most. 
Ask how they met. 
Ask what they did for fun. 
Just ask. 
They 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:

For dinner,
To Bible Study,
For game night,
To go 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.

Even if there is life insurance, it may not be available for months.  
Ask them if they need a loan or a financial gift if you are able.
Gift cards for restaurants, oil changes, lawn service or gas stations are always appreciated.

Remember them.   

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

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.

Get Robyn’s book, The Widow Wore Pink,
which is the story of God’s faithfulness to her as a widow
and how her community eased the pain of sorrow.


  1. Robyn Dykstra on July 24, 2016 at 1:20 am

    M.S. wrote to me: Losing both parents (or multiple loved ones) changes you. It changes how you view those closest to you. It changes how you think about and participate in your friendships. It changes how you spend time with your family. It changes how you handle holidays and special occasions. It changes how you handle life’s everyday ups and downs. It just simply changes you. Some days are amazing and seemingly “perfect” and other days are the kind that leave you questioning everything and wondering if you are ever going to feel “normal” again. Grief is real. Grief isn’t a short process of “getting over” the loss. Grief is a journey trying to find and accept your new reality. Grieving shows you who really has your back and who never had it to begin with. Grief is so misunderstood. While grieving, people can laugh and have fun yet still secretly be feeling like their insides are being ripped apart. Grief is laughing one minute and crying the next. Grief makes you over sensitive and less than tolerant. Grief leaves you fearing another loss. Grief doesn’t have a time frame. Grief doesn’t have an age range…young and old grieve and every person grieves in their own way. I’ve lost both my parents and my amazing aunt who was very much like my 2nd mom…all in just a 27 month span. Yes, I’m grieving. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I have my good days and my bad..and sometimes they are on the same day. I know grief more than I ever imagined at my age. My saving grace…Jesus Christ!! I have a true, deep, sweet, relationship with Him and He is ALWAYS with me..sustaining me and guiding me!! HE reminds me I am not alone..even though while grieving I often “feel” alone. He reminds me that I am NOT an orphan..that I am HIS daughter first, last, and ALWAYS and that He LOVES me!! ?

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