This year has been an exceptionally trying year. With the loss of my Grandpa in January to the loss of my Grandma a week ago today. I've been thinking about grief a lot and I've come up with a list of things to do/not do for a grieving friend.
Number one: give them time to process. I understand the urge to rush over and be of aid, but what they really need more than anything is time to process what has happened. By having people show up, unannounced it merely makes things more difficult for the person who has just suffered a loss.
Number two: If you insist on ignoring rule number one, don't ask them stupid questions. (Yes, there is such a thing as a stupid question in this instance). If it's been under an hour since a person has died, odds are, the funeral home has not yet arrived to pick up the body of their loved one, so to ask them "are they still here?" not only is stupid, but also incredibly insensitive.
Number three: If you haven't been around and have no idea if the person who passed was in pain or not, DO NOT under ANY circumstances tell THE CAREGIVER "At least they aren't in pain anymore". Personally I take this as an insult because that means I wasn't doing my job at keeping them comfortable. Also, asking about specifics of what happened immediately after it happened is not ok. The wound is still too fresh, you need to give a little time before talking about it.
Number four: DO give the grieving person some space, wait a few hours to call and offer condolences. If you feel the need to make yourself useful, ask when a good time to bring by a meal would be. Don't make it be on your schedule, make it whats best for them, after all, they probably have a lot going on in their mind and heart right now.
Number five: DO give hugs, but only if they want them. Forcing someone to hug you won't make things better, if anything it will just make them pissed at you.