Things to remember

When someone dies there are a few simple things you can do to help the other friends or family members that are having a hard time.

  1. Be there to listen. If the person going through grief does not want to talk just be with them.

  2. Help the person remember to breath. Breathing deeply will help them physically and emotionally.

  3. If they want to pray with you pray with them, if they don’t then don’t push them to pray. If you are religious then pray for them in your heart.

  4. Let them handle grief however it is best for them, they will do what they need to do. When they need to cry they will cry, when they need to scream they can scream. Allow them to cry and be there in case they need anything. If they want to talk that is fine but if they don’t want to talk that is fine too.

  5. Ask them what they need, help the best that you can.

  6. Help them remember to eat and drink because often they won’t be hungry or want to drink anything. If you are the one having a hard time remember to breath, eat and drink. Let the person know that it is ok if you eat and it will help them be strong. If they don’t want to eat or drink that is fine just be there for when they do.

  7. Everyone will handle grief in different ways, they may go through the normal stages or they may not. If they laugh that is not out of the ordinary. Being there to help clean, cook or help with the children will mean the world to them later on.

  8. If your friend or family member needs help planning the funeral, getting the death certificate, contacting the social security office offer to drive them and help them through these steps.

  9. There are things that we suggest that you not say when someone dies. Do not tell them that everything will be ok, don’t tell them that their loved one is in a better place. Don’t tell them it could be worse. You can tell them that you are there to be with them, you can tell them that they are not alone.

  10. If they have a Priest, Pastor , Rabbi or Bishop that you can contact for them do so.

  11. It is best if the person is not left alone.

As volunteer Police Chaplains we respond to deaths on a regular basis and there are things that we do. when we arrive and after. We don’t have all the answers and when you have comments or suggestions I would be happy to listen to them. Often we will respond with a victim advocate who has been trained to help and we leave a packet with the person that has steps of things they can do when there is a death in the family.