TOP 10 GOLDEN RULES
DON'T SAY NOTHING
Say “yes”. Say "yes, this is awful, yes you're upset."
Affirm our pain. Confirm that we are allowed to be sad.
Say I'm here.
You can even say, “I don't know what to say, but I will keep doing my best to support you.”
Just don't say nothing. Don't make an already lonely and unbearable time even worse.
Sit with us and stand on the edge of our pain. We know that's uncomfortable for you, but it's worse for us.
Having a presence when you're in the mess of grief is such a comfort. Stand with us , cry with us, hold our hand.
Grief is often silent. Don't leave us alone in that silence. Sit in it with us.
REGULARLY ASK IF WE WANT TO TALK, AND LISTEN IF WE SAY YES.
There is release in sharing the story of our loss. There is joy in knowing that someone cares and wants to know.
Listen. Digest. Ask questions. Engage in our pain and anger.
And if we say no, ask again another time.
MINIMISE OUR DECISIONS FOR US
We are tired. Death is an exhausting never-ending list of decisions. Deciding on flowers and funerals and paperwork and how we feel and who to contact and phone calls and and and…
If there are things that you can decide for us, or minimise our choices, and give our brains a break, do it.
Say “I'm taking you out for dinner to X or Y, which would you prefer?” rather than “Would you like to go out for dinner?”
Cook for us, clean for us, fill out paperwork, make phone calls on our behalf, right thing lists of things we tell you that we need to do…
Bring over food, but don’t bring over lasagne, everyone brings lasagne.
If you’re sending flowers, send a vase too.
Make playlists for us, read a book out loud to us. Anything you can think of, offer to do it and FOLLOW THROUGH.
ASK QUESTIONS AND DON'T SPEAK FOR US
Death comes up a lot. People die almost every second of every day. It's unavoidable.
If a conversation, topic, TV show, song, event, might make us uncomfortable, ask us if we are comfortable with it. If we say yes, listen to us. If we say no, change the issue at hand.
MESSAGE US REGULARLY, AND SAY IT'S OKAY NOT TO REPLY
Send updates on your life so we remember there is a normal world out there. Send memes pictures videos voice notes anything that you think will make us smile.
And if we don't respond, don't take it personally.
We are tired and overwhelmed, but we appreciate your messages, so keep them coming.
Death dates, birthdays, anniversaries, Father's Day, Mother’s Day, Valentine's Day, University graduation without our dead best friend…
These days have different meanings for each of us. The way we want to remember these days is individual to our own loss and grief. Ask us how we will honour these different dates, and consider how you can best be part of that honouring.
Send flowers, send a text message, provide a welcome distraction...
Our grief will never end because our person is never coming back, but the intensity of it will change over time. The way our grief manifests, the way we feel, and the way we experience our loss will ebb and flow as time goes by.
Be patient with us as we traverse this unknown ground.
Know that we still love you and care about you, even if we aren't responding to your text messages. Know that when we get angry and shout at you, we feel guilty about it straight afterwards.
Know that we appreciate every single way that you support us as we continue learning to live our lives without our person.
BE YOURSELF, AND BE TRUE TO US
Don't act in a way that you have never acted before. Don't do something that you aren’t uncomfortable with, unless it is sitting silence with us. Be yourself.
So much in our life has changed because we have lost our person, we need some continuity.
Think of ways that are unique to you, in how you can best support us.