LPT Request: What do I say to a good friend who all of a sudden misplaced his mother?
There was a medical occasion. She went into the ICU and so far as I do know by no means got here out.
I’m gonna name him however I’ve no clue what to say. This feels so out of my depth. He’s solely 29.
For those who’ve misplaced a detailed member of the family earlier than, what’s helped? I don’t need to rattle off cliches awkwardly, however I additionally don’t know something I can say that may assist the grief he should be carrying proper now.
Extra context: I’ve by no means met his mother so I can’t deliver up fond reminiscences. And we’re not in the identical nation, so I can’t do something for him both
Thanks for studying this far
Comments ( 28 )
Honestly just say I’m sorry about what happened, and I’m here if u need to talk, grab a beer, shoot some pool, whatever bro. If you guys hang out take him out to ease his mind. Smoke a blunt or do some shrooms. Whatever his forté.
Just reverse it. What if you lost your mom, what could your friend say?
Nothing helps really, other than being around and showing support. It’s a slight assurance when you feel others are behind you and helping.
When I lost my Mom, I used to hate people giving generic ‘I can imagine how it feels’ when they still had their parents alive.
‘Look, I can’t even begin to imagine how you’re feeling right now but if you need to talk or catch up, I’m right here’
He’s in shock right now, just offer your condolences, and tell him you’re there for him, 24/7, whatever he needs.
Don’t even bring up what happened. Just let them know you are there to talk or help if they need it. It may take awhile but keep checking in on them. Let them know you are willing and able to be there just to let them vent or go out to get their mind off of things. They need to know someone cares so be that person for them.
Just lost my mom last month. It’s not really what you say that matters .it’s more so that you just reach out and let them know you are there for them.
So, “What are you going to do with your mom’s car?” is probably right out then?
“Sorry about the stuff I said when playing Call of Duty.”
“I love you. I’m thinking about you. If you need me to bring you some dinner or run an errand for you let me know. If you want me to come sit with you or come sit over here to get out of the house, anything, just let me know.”
Reach out and say something to the effect of, “I’m sorry for your loss. I’m here for you however you need me to be. If you want to talk about it, you’ve got my undivided attention. If you want a distraction from it, I’ve got a bunch of bad memes/porn/DIY, etc. coming your way. If you want to be left alone, I’m here to support you and your family however I can.”
I’d say not only reach out now, but also do some things in the next 6 months that will remind him you’re still thinking of him. Lots of people send condolences immediately, but it gets pretty lonely 3 months in when everyone’s forgotten about the loss but you.
Put some reminders on your calendar to insta-cart him some beer, send him a stupid post card, send something weird that you find on the internet… it doesn’t matter. Just a little “hey bud, thinking of you” will make him feel cared for.
When I lost a parent a friend sent me letters about whatever was going on in her life for 6 months. Just the fact that they acknowledged that I was struggling and wanted me to know that someone was thinking of me was so meaningful.
Even more thoughtful (if you want to take it this far)
Mark it in your calendar the day she passed. Send him a text that day next year saying “hey. Just saying hi and thinking about you” or whatever. That day fucking blows, and some folks don’t want to talk about it, but having someone else acknowledge that it’s ok to have a hard day that day is so incredibly helpful.
He’s a member of the Dead Parent Club. Acknowledge that, and listen.
Echoing what others have said – don’t try to offer any “band-aid” phrases or use it to launch into how hard your dog/aunt/great-grandmother’s death was for you. Just say the truth: “I cannot imagine what you are going through.”
Breaking apart from some of the advice here I’m going to suggest that instead of saying “reach out if you need help” tell them HOW you will be helping and let them share when. Just stick to the tasks that NEED to be done in a household. It can take a lot of emotional energy even to delegate tasks, and often people don’t want to seem like a burden even in the midst of grief. Here are some examples:
“I’m going to drop off dinner for you and the family this week, what night works? Any allergies/aversions?”
“I’ll be able to walk your dog X times this week (or paying a dog walker in the neighborhood), what time does she usually go out?”
“I got a mower and am going to do your lawn, does your neighborhood have quiet hours I should avoid?”
Lastly, set a phone reminder for the 1 week, 1 month, 6 month, and 1 year anniversary of his Mom’s passing. Reach out on those dates. Support often dwindles in the days/weeks following a tragedy, and your friend will notice who moved on and who followed up with him.
+1 to what others are saying. Just keep it short and sweet. A simple “Hey dude I heard the news and just wanted to let you know if you need anything I’ve got you covered” goes a long way
As someone who has lost a parent, the most annoying thing people say is ‘I know who it feels, my grandad/grandma died recently’….. Not the same!
In general it doesn’t kick in until later on, just be a good friend now and a better one in a few months.
What do you need buddy, I’m here for you
“I heard about you losing your mom. I don’t even know what to say. But I’m here for you. Do you need anything? Do you want to talk about it?”
“I dont know what to say”
Its okay to just be there when people cry
As someone who lost there mum a couple of years ago I’d honestly recommend something just like ‘thats shit, how you doing’
I’m a funny and flamboyant guy. So I use that. I offer my sympathies quickly, don’t dawdle, then say something like, “I’m here if you need me. For whatever. If you need to talk, I’m here. If you don’t want to talk and would rather hear all the gossip that’s happening at work while you’ve been gone, I can spill the T, just let me know.”
I think sometimes, the distraction is nice. A chance to laugh. To break up the morose. If you’ve seen the cemetery scene from Steel Magnolias you know what I mean.
Personally my friend just messaged and asked if I wanted to go get something to eat. He didn’t bring up anything and it was a relief to have that small escape for a couple of hours.
I lost both my parents to cancer. They were divorced and lived 34 miles apart. For more than a decade, holidays where hell on earth.
When it was all over, I was 28.
“sorry for your loss” is fine. Better is “can I do anything for you? Are you ok?”
Personally, I set out on a bike. Rode around the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
After a year, I was ready to come home.
I lost my mom in October and what one of my friends said still stands out to me because they were honest “I don’t know what to say but I’m here for you if you need to talk or if you don’t need to talk” this helped me realize I can set boundaries with my friends and say “hey I want to hang out but I don’t want to talk about my mom” because sometimes you just need a “normal” day.
Just be the friend you were before.
When my Mum suddenly died I got a lot of shocked comments and a lot of people acting like they understood what it felt like when they didn’t and I didn’t need any of that.
Just let them know you’re there for them but follow it through with actually being there for them. I got a lot of ‘if you need anything’ followed by absolutely nothing. Nothing can really help but when time has passed it will be a small comfort knowing who was actually around during the worst times of their life.
The best piece of advice I ever got for helping someone through a loss is “shut up and just be there”, effectively meaning – be a shoulder to cry on, and don’t compare anything you’ve dealt with to it…actually don’t talk at all unless you’re asked a question or prompted to talk, do way more listening than talking.
There are no magic words, okay? Know that, take strength in that knowledge.
Instead, what matters is your presence. The quiet determination to be a kind and supportive friend. That’s it.
And when it matters most isn’t in the immediate aftermath of the death or the funeral. The survivors will be inundated with compassion. No, when your friendship really matters is when the mourners go home to a quiet house, when the days and weeks afterward are filled with interrupted thoughts about asking a mother’s opinion or the picture frame that stares out from the mantle over the fireplace.
This is when the magnitude of loss sinks in. And yet that’s when the deliveries of food have stopped, when friends and family have left the house of mourning to return to the business of life.
Know that your friend cannot be fully whole for a long, long time. He might go back to work. He might crack a joke with you. He might enter back into the routine. But know that the desire for normalcy can be his hard-won illusion, his way of dealing with an amputated past.
So your role here isn’t that of therapist. It’s not to coax out his feelings and dissect them. In fact, that’s the worst thing to do to a person who is already exhausted by loss. Instead, the simple quiet strength of your presence is what matters. It’s the gift of normalcy in a world where nothing else seems normal. And the readiness to simply listen when he’s ready to talk.
And that desire to talk might not come for a long time. Sure, there will be the normal day-to-day discussions of probate or cleaning out her house. But the real work of recovery might be postponed until the unreality of loss dissipates. A holiday. A birthday. A special occasion. And then it will beel as if being struck a physical blow.
So just be there. Your attention will prove more eloquent than a million self-help books. And be far more appreciated.
Don’t focus on what your saying,
Focus on calling him once in a while. Not just one time but once in 2 weeks.
Just ask him how he’s doing, and provide emotional support.
I lost my husband. All I remember is that most of our friends ghosted me. I can offer that as what not to do.