Helpful Hints for Interacting with Someone Who Has Just Experienced Tragedy
•Do not avoid them or ignore them.
•Say hello, extend some friendly words such as:
* "I've been thinking of you, It's good to see you, If you would ever like to have a coffee, talk, or walk, please know that I'm available,
*"You have been in our hearts and thoughts-if you need any help with errands or wish for company, please let us know."
*It's really great to see you, How are you managing today? Let me know if you need anything" " Can I drop off a bottle of wine or cookies at your door some time?"
•Do not bring up their loss inappropriately (such as in the middle of the street, at the grocery store, at a restaurant). Let them bring it up. They will if they wish to talk to you about it. If you are hanging out with them privately you can ask "Hey do want to talk about how you're doing or how things have been for you?" They will if they want to.
• Treat them like a normal human being. If you know of other things that are happening in their life (a new house, a partners job, some great writing they've just done, their pets, etc) Consider asking about how those things are going. This gives the person an opportunity to have conversation that isn't awkwardly about only what has happened. Many people hurting deeply still wish for some positive social interaction.
•Risk your own momentary discomfort to extend kindness and warmth to someone who is hurting. Sometimes a smile and squeezing someone's shoulder lets them know you care and still allows them space to themselves or the opportunity to strike up a convo with you.
•Don't be afraid. People don't need your fear, they need your kindness.
Gretchen Hickmott 2017