Friend's dtr died.....

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Well-Known Member
Nov 9, 2004
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My friend's 20 year old daughter died 5 days after a horrific car can I help ease her pain????? What can I do or say?????????? I just can't stop bawling.
OMG, how horrible.
You can't ease her pain (nobody can) but you can be there for her and help her with funeral arrangements, etc, and be a strong shoulder for her. My condolences to all.
Hold her, cry with her, help with the mundane daily tasks she can't begin to consider, love her.
Bring her some comfort food for the family....and be there to listen and support her.
There's nothing you can really say, hugs are always good........ I agree with taking over some food. Cooking is the last thing people will be thinking of doing. But they still need to eat. I also can guarantee that they will not want to go out to eat for awhile if they can help it. If they have other younger kids, offer to watch them for a little while, or if they have older kids - spend some time with them too. Sometimes siblings who are also grieving are overlooked.
I would think just "being there" and help her get through the days and weeks, months, years to come.

She may say no, but keep asking if there's anything you can do, arrange, or see to for her.

I am so sorry...this is awful to think about.

How horrible!!
Call her and ask her if there is anything you can do. Be there for her, give her a shoulder to cry on, give her an ear to listen to her. Make a dinner for her and the rest of her family to bring over to her. Ask her if you can help her in any way, and do not take no for an answer. Even if it is only to provide dinners for her family over the next couple of weeks. Get all of your neighbors to help.

Most of all, be there for her.
People say "If there is anything I can do......."

Well if your friend is like me, she won't accept offers because she doesn't want to put anyone out.

My friends didn't even ask, they just showed up and got to work.

Do not ask her what you can do, just go start doing it. Do the dishes, clean the house, bring supplies.

Do her grocery shopping for her if she needs anything. That is one thing I couldn't do was be coherent enough to drive. Do take her to the Dr. if she needs one. She might really need to see her Dr.

Call her a couple of times a day. Even more. The more she has to talk to people the better she may be to keep her from slipping away into la-la land. If people back off too much, that will give her too much time to think things she should not be thinking. Keep on her case for a reality check. If you can and have time, just go over there and sit and watch TV. Just be a body there. You don't always have to talk or say a thing.

Even today, every day, friends call to check on me because there is still a part of me inside that can't move on. If she says she is going to off herself to be with her daughter, you better believe those are not idle words she just might give it a go. There is a suicide helpline that will help her with that. Last but not least, keep in mind her tragedy will NEVER be over and it will NOT EVER get better in time. Time does not heal and I don't know why people assume it does. Things can fester and make her worse as time goes on.

Above all, give her my number because she may feel she needs to talk to someone who has been there already. She may feel the only one that will understand her now is someone else that lost a child.

Here is a list of Grieving DOS and DON'TS

DO Allow them to express as much grief as they are able and are willing to share with you.

DO allow them to express as much unhappiness as they are feeling and willing to share with you.

DO allow them to talk about their loss as much and as often as they want to.

DO be available. to listen, to run errands, to help with the other children, or whatever else seems needed at the time.

DO deal with the grieving individual gently and positively.

DO encourage them to be patient with themselves and not to expect too much of themselves.

DO encourage them to not impose any “shoulds” or “I should be” on themselves.

DO give special attention to the child's brothers and sisters at the funeral and in the months to come (they are often in need of attention which their parents may not be able to give).

DO let your genuine concern and caring show.

DO offer specific help such as running errands, helping complete tax or medical forms, or helping to go through their loved one’s belonging.

DO offer to be a friend.

DO recognize that grieving has no time limit and varies from individual to individual both in the way they express their grief and the time required to stabilize.

DO talk about your memories of the deceased child and the special qualities that made the child endearing.

DO tell the family how sorry you are about the child’s death and about the pain they must be feeling.

Acknowledge the death through visits, phone calls, sympathy cards, donations, and flowers.

Remember important days such as birthdays, the death anniversary, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and any other significant day, which may be difficult for the bereaved. A telephone call, visit, or card means a great deal to a bereaved parent.

Make specific offers to help, i.e.

i. I am going to the store. What do you need?

ii. Can I take your kids on Sunday afternoon?

i. On Thursday I will be bringing by dinner for the family.

ii. I will take your child to skating lessons on Sunday.

iii. Can I come and baby-sit tomorrow evening to give you a break.

iv. Do you want to get out tonight to talk, walk, or both.

Offer to take the children to schools, birthday parties, and extra-curricular programs.

Immediately following the loss, take charge of the household and inform family and friends of the tragedy, help answer the phone, help dress and feed the children (if applicable), and set up a meal plan.

Call. Call often.

When you call the bereaved, ask, "How are you doing today?"

Appreciate that your bereaved relative or friend doesn't always return phone calls right away.

Appreciate that nothing you say will ever make the bereaved parent sadder than the reality of what has happened to their child.

Talk in your natural tone of voice.

Remember that when you phone, even if it is to only leave a message, the bereaved feel comforted by your efforts.

Tell the bereaved family how much you care.

Remember it is usually the simple little things you say or do that mean so much.


Continue to support bereaved parents well beyond the acute mourning period, even if it means years..

Congratulate the bereaved on good news while appreciating that they still carry a tremendous burden of grief.

Find local support through bereavement groups, church, synagogue, bereavement organizations and forward the information to the bereaved family.

Be sensitive that being in the presence of other children of similar age to the deceased may make the bereaved parent uncomfortable.

Give the bereaved time to resume the activities they participated in before their loss.

Know that effort of any kind is appreciated.

Learn how to give good hugs. The bereaved need every heartfelt hug they can get.

Expect your relationship with the bereaved to change. When you are bereaved, every relationship is affected in one way or another.

Share your own good news with the bereaved. They still want to hear it.

Say any of the following:

i. Call me at any time if you ever need to talk.

ii. I can't begin to imagine how you feel.

iii. I am so sorry for your loss.

Feed and walk the dog who has probably been forgotten about.

Talk to your children about the loss.

Talk to your children about death and the rituals surrounding death.

Find the right time and the right materials to broach the discussion of loss and bereavement with your children.

Consult with your libraries and bookstores for bereavement reading materials for children.

Provide your surviving children with a picture of the departed child as a cherished momento.

Give children the option to attend the funeral.

Give children the option of visiting at the cemetery.


DON’T avoid mentioning their loss or the child's name out of fear of reminding them of their pain (they haven't forgotten it!).

DON’T change the subject when they mention their dead child.

DON’T tell them what they should feel or do.

DON'T avoid the bereaved parents because you are uncomfortable (being avoided by friends adds pain to an already painful experience.)

DON'T let your friends, family or co-workers grieve alone. There is a tremendous sense of isolation and abandonment during the grief process. You can help by caring, by being there, and by being the best friend you can.

DON'T make any comments which in any way suggest that their loss was their fault.

DON’T point out that at least they have their other children (children are not interchangeable; they can not replace each other).

DON'T say "Your loved one is waiting for you over there," "God wanted him," "It was God's will," or "God knows best."

DON'T say “you can always have another child.”

DON'T say “you should be coping or feeling better by now” or anything else which may seem judgmental about their progress in grieving.

DON'T say that you know how they feel (unless you've experienced their loss yourself you probably don't know how they feel).

DON'T suggest that they should be grateful for their other children. Grief over the loss of one child does not discount the parents’ love and appreciation of their living children.

DON'T tell them not to cry. It hurts us to see them cry and makes us sad. But, by telling them not to cry, we are trying to take their grief away.

DON'T tell them what they should feel or do.

DON'T try to find something positive (e.g. a moral lesson, closer family ties, etc.) about the loss.

Allow your own fears from preventing you from offering support to the bereaved.

Fear that bringing up the dead child's name will create sadness.

Say, "If you need anything call me" because the bereaved don't always know how to call and ask for your support.

Be afraid if you make your bereaved friend or relative cry.

Think that good news (family wedding, pregnancy, job promotion, etc.) cancels out grief.

Have expectations for what bereaved parents should or should not be doing at different times in their grief.

Forget the overlooked mourners (grandparents, uncles, aunt's, close friends etc.) who need your support too.

Force bereaved people to talk about their loss. They will engage you when the time is right.

DON'T EVER SAY any of the following:

i. It was God's will.

ii. It was meant to be.

iii. He's in a better place now.

iv. Time heals all wounds.

v. I know just how you feel.

vi. You are still young enough to have more children.

vii. Are you not over it yet?

viii. At least you have other children.

ix. Your child is in a better place.

x. It was for the best.

xi. Now you will have an angel in heaven.

xii. It could have been worse...

xiii. It's been ______ amount of time and you have to get on with your life.

Expect grieving parents to be strong and don't compliment them if they seem to be strong.

Tell a grieving parent how they should feel.

Be afraid of reminding the parents about the child. They haven't forgotten.

Be afraid to cry or laugh in front of the bereaved.

Assume that when a grieving parent is laughing, they are over anything or grieving any less.

Wait until you know the perfect thing to say. Just say whatever is in your heart or say nothing at all. Sometimes just being there is comfort enough.

Underestimate the impact of grief on children. Children understand and retain a lot more than they may show.

Think that children are too young to appreciate loss or death.
i'm so sorry, i can't imagine the heartache.

if she has pets, horses, etc. and if you are able to, offer to care for them. meals would be a big help, especially if there are children at home. be sure to take lots and lots of paper plates, napkins, paper towels and keep the house supplied with toilet paper. i know that sounds kind of silly but believe me, it is MUCH appreciated and it is not something she will remember to do.

don't tell her you know how she feels. don't tell her that her daughter is in a "better place". all well meaning things to say but very, VERY painful to hear. speaking from recent experience, if she wants to be alone, let her. don't smother her. it's great to offer your help but you don't want to hover. just let her know she can call you any time, day or night.

help with funeral arrangements is always welcome. something that takes a LOT of time are picture boards. had i not had help with those, i never could have given gary the kind of services i wanted him to have.

don't try to stifle her anger. she will be angry with herself, her God, maybe even angry with her daughter at some point. ALL normal processes of grief.

when the time comes for services, round up your friends and wash whatever vehicles will be used. you might think about hiring a trustworthy person to stay at the house during services to watch over things and accept offerings of food.

cards, cards, CARDS!!! after 4 months, i STILL get "thinking of you" cards in my mailbox and i cannot tell you how much it brightens my day to receive one.

and as as been said, above all, love her.
My prayers are there. I'm so sorry.
Great advice has been given already. Just being there means so much. God will lead you to do whatever is needed.

God bless,

I'm so sorry. Prayers being sent your way.

Marty and Charlene, thank you so much for your words of wisdom. I've saved those to a document for reference.
With everything that is going on in my life right now, I so appreciate Marty and Charlene's posts.

One other thing to add. Dont expect her to be a friend right now. Just be her friend. She has no emotional strength left to support anyone and she needs the support from her friends with nothing expected in return.

Dont ask what you can do, just do it. If you look around and see a pile of dirty clothes, wash them. If the dishes are piled up, wash them. If the floors are dirty, vacuum or mop. If you are going to the store, dont ask her what she needs, go look in her cupboards and fridge and get what she needs.

Dont ask anything of her right now, she is on overload. I simply cannot believe how many people have called or sent me an email with the facade of asking how I am and in the next breath or sentence ask me to do something for them. :DOH! Even if she is normally the one that is the giver in the relationship, she cant be now.

I am so sorry for her loss, let her know that there are people out her that she doesn't even know that are thinking of her.
Thank you soooooo much for all the helpful things......she's been in overload since this happened last Friday.....such an emotion and heart-tearing week it's been. I've done what I can for her, and now she wants to be alone for a while to grieve her loss. Memorial service is on Monday, and she's trying so hard to keep it together.

My sister's son was murdered in '97, seeing what it did to her, I feel so helpless.
Thank you soooooo much for all the helpful things......she's been in overload since this happened last Friday.....such an emotion and heart-tearing week it's been. I've done what I can for her, and now she wants to be alone for a while to grieve her loss. Memorial service is on Monday, and she's trying so hard to keep it together.

My sister's son was murdered in '97, seeing what it did to her, I feel so helpless.
i probably don't have to say this since you have been through your own tragedy but i know for myself, i kept my wits about me between gary's death and his services because i was on a mission to make everything just perfect. i was so busy and too exhausted to allow myself to fall apart. however, immediately after gary's services, i came back to my house, threw myself on our big empty bed and simply got hysterical. i stayed that way for 3 days, almost nonstop. i think my son was ready to send me to the funny farm.

just be ready because when your friend falls apart, she will do it in a big way, and not just one time. i thought i was being SO strong and SO stoic and when it hit me, it hit me like a thousand cannon balls, right in the gut and i had absolutely no control over it. for me, i was glad to be alone but many (maybe most, i don't know) would rather have someone close by.

you will all be in my thoughts and prayers and marty, thank you for that list. it is invaluable!
Be Still

Be still like the grass on a melancholy summer day

Be still like desert shrub.

Be calm and you will hear your loved one speak, in the stillness, in the calm,

their love resounds.

If you are still this promise I make, you will hear the voice of your loved one

helping you along your way.

Author - unknown

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