We have realized it is important to attend the funeral. We have been to more funerals recently than weddings and have come to terms with it. We know it's important to be there for our friends, to show up, to provide the hug, the shoulder, the help when they might need it. It can also help with understanding the person that your friend has lost. It's painful, but there is a beauty in the stories and the memories that are sometimes revealed.
When we are at a loss for what to do, we usually go with food. We will either deliver a meal or a bag of treats from Trader Joe's. If we know a friend is dealing with a level of grief that will likely affect their appetite we'll go with the bag of snacks knowing it's sometimes easier. In our home food equals love so this is pretty much our first response!
If we don't bring food it's likely you will see flowers from us. Along with a visit and a hug. There really isn't a right answer as to what is the best thing. I think we should all follow our intuition. I've had a crazy nudge to make a grieving friend laugh and though it felt crazy we laughed and cried together and it seemed healing. You never know what might be the best thing for a friend dealing with grief until you are there with them in the moment. But don't let fear hold you back from doing something.
Then there is dealing with loss yourself. (Don't worry, Boston is alive and well!) Again I think you should follow your instinct. Do you need to be with people? Do you need to be alone. Do you need to snuggle up with your dog, watch a couple hours of sad movies on Netflix and cry? I think too often we think we can run from the pain instead of allowing ourselves to just sit with it a bit.
Don't be afraid to reach out to others. I think there is nothing that makes me happier than being called on by a friend telling me that I'm needed by them. And I am learning by watching others dealing with grief that it has it's own time table. That it will catch you off guard months down the road when you think you are "over it." So be prepared to support that friend, or ask for support yourself if you are dealing with a loss of your own. We are all so lucky to have each other.
Please, tell me what you do to either support a friend or take care of yourself when dealing with grief. I would love to hear from you.