What can you possibly say to ease someones pain and grief after losing a loved one? There isn't any one word or hug that will magically take their hurt away. Standing beside them, telling them you don't know what to say is a beautifully genuine place to start.
A squeeze of a hand, an arm around the shoulder whilst sitting in silence. If you're really not sure what to do, ask if they need anything. Suggest a few things that you can see need to be done, if they are reluctant to ask for help. When words or comfort don't feel right, practical gestures will show your love and support. Think freezable cooked meals, a load of washing off the line, grocery shopping, responding to phone calls or messages, mowing the lawn or feeding the dogs. Acts of kindness and love can take many different forms and it's really the thought that counts.
Each day will be different, presenting new emotions and challenges. Taking time to listen will help, even if you feel like you aren't actually doing anything. Checking in via phone or email to remind them you are thinking of them. Talking about their loved one and using their name, sharing stories, looking at photos and laughing can be a temporary form of pain relief.
Please don't avoid or give too much space, because you feel uncomfortable or helpless. Your love and support might be what helps them survive their storm of grief.
Big love, Nickie x