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Dear Wendy

Supporting a friend who lost her mom

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  • #841084 Reply

    My best friend just lost her mother all of a sudden yesterday. She called me in complete shock. Her mom raised her as a single mom and they were very very close. We’re only 21. The thing is I’m currently a 3 hour flight away from her and I don’t know if I can fly out and see her with work and everything. I feel terrible. I don’t know what to say or do that would help. All I’ve done is called and checked in and I’ve been at a loss for words because she sounds so sad and depleted. Does anyone have any advice for what I can do/say to support my friend? I’ve never lost anyone close to me so I’m trying my best to give the support she needs!

    #841243 Reply

    If you can fly out and take a couple days off of work, I’m sure that would be appreciated. Find out when the funeral is, and plan to be there. That’s honestly the best way to show you care- by showing up.

    If you truly cannot do that- is there someone that is there that you could contact and check in with?

    #841244 Reply

    Does she have aunts, uncles, grandparents? Does she get along with them? She needs support there are so many freaking things to take care of and someone trusted who is older can help.

    She needs to deal with the burial, does she need financial help?
    She needs to deal with insurance, social security, car title, home title, bank accounts, credit cards. All of them are going to need copies of the death certificate. The funeral home can help you with that. You’ll need some with cause of death, others without.

    And she’s going to be doing all of this without the one person, her mom, that she needs the most. If you can request a short leave, if she has no one else, do it. You’re young I promise you’ll get a new job.

    If she has help with the admin and you can’t be there – then call her and talk to her. Ask her to talk about her favorite memories. Help her deal with the waves of grief that she’s going to deal with by just listening. Even if you’re both sitting on the phone watching the same TV show – do your best to be there.

    #841248 Reply

    One of my best friends lost her father very suddenly last September. Luckily I live close and could drop by, but for her I know making sure she had food was helpful. She’s a mom of little boys so she had to function to feed them and herself.

    Can you send groceries to your friend? Maybe through instacart? Even some frozen dinners. Flowers are nice but they won’t make sure she’s taking care of herself. I would send Restaurant gift cards or easy to make meals or a meal kit like Hello Fresh/Blue Apron.

    Just being there is a start. If you can find some time to visit, I would. She would probably love to have you at the funeral as a support person. Just keep checking in with her and being a good friend. You already are a good friend looking for ways to support her.

    #841250 Reply

    I lost my mom a few years ago and things I appreciated were:

    1) People still inviting me to do things – A lot of people have the instinct to back off and give a person space, but having a distraction is nice sometimes so you aren’t dwelling on it so much. It sounds like you aren’t close, but keep calling, video chat, or if you have mutual friends around her, suggest that they invite her to something.

    2) Gift cards for food – You will get a ton of food immediately after a funeral, but it’s nice to be able to pick what you want instead of what someone wants to make for you (I would be happy to never see another casserole).

    3) People not sending flowers – We had a ton of flowers that we ended up donating to a local rehab center because we just didn’t have room/allergies. I appreciated donations to charities my mom supported much more. Check the obituary when it is available, they will normally list places to make donations instead of flowers.

    Finally, just understand that grief takes time and it can hit you over some of the most random things. I started crying over getting a new sports bra because the one I was replacing I had bought with my mom. It felt ridiculous, but my husband just comforted me while I worked through it.

    #841261 Reply

    Being there as much as you can for her, is really the number 1. Helping with admin stuff is sometimes just making lots of phone calls and possibly get quotes, something you could help with from far away.

    I also recommend the book “There Is No Good Card for This: What To Say and Do When Life Is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love” for yourself in learning how to best handle these awful life situations. The author also makes some great cards to give to those grieving which you could send your friend.

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