On how to support your grieving friend...
My summer finished with a tragic loss of a friend. As over the last year a few people close to me went through grieving, I realised that I need educate myself how to be of a better support for people I care when they go through it..
There are few books I found relevant:
For you, if your friend is grieving I Didn't Know What to Say: Being a Better Friend to Those Who Experience Loss by David Knapp:
For your friend as a present (but wait for a few months after the loss): It's OK That You're Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand by Megan Devine,
The main discovery for me was not to be afraid to talk talk about grieving . It is not helping your friend to be avoiding talking about diseased. It helps to acknowledge the loss and be there to listen about the grief (without comparing to somebody’s else loss or giving advice how to “get over it” or how “to focus on positive”). The griever is looking for a companionship, not correction or an advice. Grief is not a problem to be solved, it is an experience to be carried. We need to give support to a friend to live with new reality.
Also do not tell your friend to let you know if he/she needs any help. They are not likely to call and ask you for help. Be more specific and offer help such as “Can I pop-in tomorrow to cook for the weekend?” or “Can I can have the kids over next weekend?”
I also found the list of phrases of what to say and what not to say useful for me to be more prepared meeting my grieving friends (see phrases here).
Every loss is a very personal experience and there is no general advice that covers all but there are way for all of us to be more helpful to the friends who are grieving.