Almost 70,000 Americans have lost their lives to COVID-19. These numbers represent fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunties, cousins, friends, and neighbors. This means there are a lot of families grieving who need our love and support.
Perhaps you or someone you know has lost a loved one too. Recently, I reached out to a friend who had been on my mind for a couple of days. During our conversation, she shared that she was having a hard time because her favorite uncle died from the Coronavirus. The hardest part was not being able to visit him one last time and say goodbye in person. On top of that, her family couldn’t gather physically to give him a proper funeral and mourn together because of social distancing.
As I listened to her, I thought about many people who in a similar situation. How are they coping with the stress and the emotional fallout from this pandemic? How are they handling the lack of closure because of not being able to perform a proper funeral? Below are 5 tips for how to support a friend or anyone dealing with grief during this time.
How to support a friend dealing with grief in the era of social distancing:
Pray and ask God to show you how to support them. Prayer is the starting place for knowing how to comfort anyone who is grieving. Pray for them privately for comfort and God’s presence to minister to them. Ask the Lord for specific scriptures to pray. I share a few below.
There are many ways to check in on friends and loved ones. Plan to call, send a text, facetime, zoom regularly with them.
Ask how you can support them
The best way to care for a grieving person is to ask them how you can support them. Provide comfort in a way that meets the person’s needs not your own.
Give them Space
Anyone who has lost a loved one will appreciate the gift of presence. This means you are available, open, and validate their feelings. You provide a safe space for whatever they need, whether it is to cry, share memories of their loved ones, or just silence. Job’s friends sat with him in silence for seven days (Job 2:13).
Send note card
You can also send a hand-written note by mail or e-card. The note can simply be, “I am thinking of you today.” If you need inspiration with what to say in your note or an e-card, check out DaySpring.
Grieving is a process, and each person handles grief differently, so don’t rush or expect them to get over it quickly. Acceptance of the loss is very important and may take time, so give them space to work through their emotions and feelings.
What not to do-Sometimes in our efforts to make a friend feel better, we may send them tons of scripture verses. While this is what they “need,” they may not be able to receive that truth yet because of grief.
What I have found most helpful is praying privately for them. I make a list of the scriptures that I could share with them and pray through the verses privately. This is a way to intercede on their behalf. Below are prayer points for 7 Bible verses to get you started with your private prayer for your friend.
- Experience God’s presence, comfort, and calm. Psalm 94:19
- Increased strength. Isaiah 40:29
- Divine help, hold close and sustain. Psalm 54:4
- Restore, guide, and refresh from within. Psalm 23:3
- Release all anxiety to God. 1 Peter 5:7
- Fill with hope and overflowing joy. Romans 15:13
- All needs met according to God’s riches in glory. Philippians 4:19
Friend, it will take our collective effort to help these 70 thousand plus families who lost loved ones to get back on their feet. Are you in?
What are some ways you can help a friend who is grieving the loss of a loved one due to the pandemic?
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