1–It is an emotional ‘event.’ Think of your emotions as a gas tank. A person only has so much to give and loosing close relative drains most of it.
Each time a person comes to the house or calls, especially within the first 24 hours, the close relatives have to draw from that ‘tank’ to gain enough energy and emotional strength to have a conversation.
2–Don’t overstay your welcome. Get in, play a role, and leave. Even the closest friends will come, play a specific role, and quietly depart. They understand what they can do for the family based on their relationship, specific profession, and other talents or gifts.
This is a time for the family to process what occurred and begin the steps to prepare for funeral arrangements, honor their loved one, etc.
If you are not close to the family, please leave a text or voice message.
3–Don’t say anything insensitive. The most insensitive statement a person can make is asking if your loved one was ‘saved.’ Don’t ever ask that. Ever. If you have to consider asking that question, you were probably not close to the deceased and should see the statement above.
Many people don’t know what to say or do when someone dies, and that’s okay. But please don’t ask questions that will cause any further emotional strain. Reaching out via text or voice message is enough. Let them know you heard about their loss and are praying for them.
4–Let them work. Some relatives of the deceased can’t sit around. They need to move and keep their minds occupied. This is their way of ‘working through’ their emotions and not remaining emotionally empty.
Don’t try to take away everything they want to do. If they want to cook, let them. Help in the kitchen but don’t try to completely take it over and sit them down.
5–Close relatives of the deceased don’t have any expectations of you. This isn’t the time to get ‘points’ for calling or bringing a plate of food over to make yourself feel good. It’s okay if you don’t call right away. The close relatives aren’t keeping a count of who calls…and don’t get upset if they don’t call you or respond to your message. Remember, this is about those who lost a close relative and not you.