Ohhh man. How do you comfort someone who has lost his mother?

by 10 comments
This is depressing.

My friend lost a dad 20 years ago from colon cancer, and now my friend has to face the same thing all over again from a mother who died in surgery... without seeing her for the last time. So sorry for the loss

Any ideas how to cheer my friend up? Or at least get my friend back up?
#off topic forum
  • Profile picture of the author Tobarja
    IMO, you're at a at a disadvantage because you're a woman. I'm not being sexist, I'm not trying to be rude or mean. Guys typically process things different. You're probably not going to talk him through this.

    He's going to be angry. He's going to be dazed. He's going to be upset by the paperwork and loose ends that have to be done.

    Be there, and leave, but don't make a fuss about either. Do something unrelated that needs to be done if you can, but not if he's about to do it himself. (We sometimes do trivial things to distract ourselves.)

    His routine will be messed up for several days. If you don't see him leveling off in four or five days, then I would start to be concerned.

    IANA psychologist, YMMV, there may be weather tomorrow.
  • Profile picture of the author osahonsam
  • Profile picture of the author Dan Riffle
    Having lost a parent and a child, I can tell you I mainly wanted to be *left* alone, but didn't want to *be* alone. There's a difference.

    All people are different, but I'd suggest being there for him but let him work through it at his own pace. As people, we want to make things better for others. Sometimes, though, the only power we have is to be a shoulder to lean on. That's my suggestion for you.

    Oh, and food always helps. He'll probably be so preoccupied that he may not think about cooking or eating.
  • Profile picture of the author MoneyMagnetMagnate
    As far as the way the two genders process grief, in my experience, women do generally seem to be much more adept at handling it and have an easier time expressing their emotion, while men will tend to internalize the process. (imo)

    My condolences.
  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    EVERYONE processes grief differently. There are many different factors involved. For example, Tobarja said your friend would be angry. That may or may not be true. I never had anger when either of my parents died.

    Frank Donovan gave the best advice, in my opinion, when he wrote, "Losing both parents can make you feel very alone, so just reassure your friend that he doesn't have to go through this process on his own. You can help with practical matters where possible, but the only way your friend will heal is to let time take its course. Eventually the pain will fade, if not the memory."

    Let him know you're there for him, check on him, help where you can, but also be aware that he may need space. The important point is that, as much as you'd like to, you can't take away the pain, you can only help him through it -- and then only as much as he'll let you.
  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    Give your friend a hug. Pour him a drink or make him some lunch - and ask if there are any details that need tended to so he can do what he needs to do. Don't talk unless he wants to sit and talk - just be "present" unless he expresses (not necessarily in words) the need to be alone.

    Know you cannot heal this wound. Let him know you are there for whatever he needs.

    It's all you can do and it will be appreciated later.

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