How to help a friend dealing with the sudden death of her sister?
July 14, 2007 11:53 AM Subscribe
My friend's sister just died. How to help?
posted by salvia to human relations (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I just talked to my friend -- she's with her family -- they're in the Home Depot buying supplies for a project they were planning to do before they found out just a couple hours ago that she had died. They don't really know how she died, but they think a chronic health problem her sister had became fatal, completely unexpectedly.
She said they were pretty shellshocked (in the Home Depot!?). They are going to be at my friend's today and going to her sister's house tomorrow.
She's a good friend of mine. She's in her mid-30s, her sister was a bit younger. Her sister lived an hour away, and they spent a lot of time together, so I'd hung out with her sister fairly often.
I asked if I should meet them back at the house or if they wanted to be by themselves, and she said she didn't know. I said, "okay, call me when you want company." That felt like a mistake as soon as I hung up, since I know how hard it is to make decisions when you're shellshocked, so I want to call them back and make the default decision "I'll be over in an hour." Or do people usually want time just to be alone with the news? I don't want to be a nuisance if they need time alone together.
I've already skimmed other AskMe's I could find about this and they say -- just be there, listen, don't try to minimize the pain ("she's in heaven now"), and make food. What else besides that? Maybe there's nothing else, and this question is more like "oh my god, what can I possibly do to ease this for them?" and the real answer is "almost nothing."
I guess I'd just like to hear from people who have lost those close to them about what they've needed in the immediate aftermath. I have only a tiny sense of what the emotional pain might be like, I don't know what logistics might be appropriate to volunteer for, etc.