on a mission to embody grace and compassion in all relationships

Simplyfying Grief — Day 15

If we live long enough, we will have the opportunity to help a friend or a family member during times of grief.

So how can you help?  How can you make a difference in someone’s life during difficult times?

There is one simple principle to remember:

“Help a person feel what they are feeling when they feel it.”

  1. If your friend is crying, encourage the tears and become comfortable with them.
  2. If your family member is mad, ask them to tell you more and then be quiet.
  3. If he retreats and is quiet with his grief, reassure him that everyone grieves in their own way.
  4. If she is afraid she will never get over this, encourage her to talk about it more and don’t try to fix it.

Just show up, even when it’s uncomfortable for you.  Your presence is more healing than you know.

Grief is our teacher (for the one going through it and the one helping) in life about what is most important if we are open to it.

Keep showing up when everyone else has returned to their routine.

And if you do this one simple principle my friend, you will make a difference in this world.


  1. Melanie Crandall

    Malcolm, This is such a beautiful short principle. I have recieved so many cards,calls and visits since my mom died in January. Thanks for the encourgement. The tears are still running every now and then but I suppose this will at sometime move on. I am going to try to go to our High School Reunion tonight but not sure if I am ready to see everyone. Will decide as the day goes on.

  2. Malcolm

    My dear Melanie, don’t try to hold those tears back. Make time and space to let them flow. Be gentle with yourself and rest more right now. Email or call me if you want to talk.


  3. Charles Qualls

    Very helpful thoughts, Malcolm. Thanks for putting that forward.

  4. Robert B. Mauterstock

    Such clear perfect advice. Thank you.

  5. Malcolm

    Thank you Bob and Charles, encouragement is a wonderful gift.

  6. Byron Songer

    Yes, the “ministry of presence” is so powerful. No word required, just being present to share in the moments.

  7. Malcolm

    Thanks Byron, you called it what it is.

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