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One of my best friends, who was my roommate for 3 years in college, lost her dad in October. He had been in the hospital for a couple of weeks, and had struggled with cancer for a few years, so it wasn't exactly a shock, but of course it was still hard.

 

Today, I got a text from her, "mom died." I was really confused because it was out of nowhere, her mom hadn't been sick or anything. So I texted her back, "what?" Turns out her mom was murdered. She was at her shop, and was shot. They don't know who did it yet, but her car was also stolen.

 

I don't even know how to respond. I can't imagine losing both parents within 6 months, especially with one being such a shock. I called her and of course I've told her I love her, I'm here for her, and I'm praying for her, but what can I do? Everyone says, "just be there for her," which I do. I did the same with her dad. She's not a big talker, doesn't like people constantly asking her how she is when bad things happen, so I've made it a point to let her know I won't ask all the time, but that she is free to talk to me whenever she wants. Is that okay, to let her come to me? Or should I reach out more? I don't want to make her feel like she has to talk when she doesn't want to, but I want to help her any way I can. Any suggestions?

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Wow, how horrible for her.

 

It's hard, because you want to be involved & let her know you're there, but you don't want to be pushy. Do you live close enough to her that you can stop in & visit her often? Bring her dinner & maybe a movie? How about some help figuring out what to do with her parents' assets/funeral arrangements? I don't know if that's all left up to her, but that's a lot to handle if she's the only child, and so young.

 

I would just stay in contact with her. It's a difficult balance between acting normal around her, but also not making her think you are trying to pretend nothing happened.

 

I would just send her frequent texts, tell her you're thinking of her. Listen when she talks about her mom. Hang out with her as much as possible.

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Oh man..... how horrible for her I really really feel for her.

 

As someone who has lost close family members, and is currently losing another, I would say don't just wait for her to come to you. The grieving person should not have to be reaching out to their loved ones for comfort and support. However, that also doesn't mean you need to be constantly pecking at her to make her talk... or asking her how she is, etc etc. if she isn't a big talker like you say. Simply making yourself present in her life says a ton.

 

Offering to help with errands (do you live close by?), calling just to chat, emailing her, making sure you keep in good contact so that she knows and FEELS that she is surrounded by love. That is what helps more than anything when you are so deep in grief.

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Unfortunately, I don't live close to her, which has been part of my problem. If I were closer, it would be easier to just BE there, but when my only option is to call, I worry that she will feel pressured to talk about it when she doesn't want to, and I never know what to say. She actually lives in Montana (I and her family are in Colorado), and the family lives in a city about an hour and a half from me. It got easier after the funeral and everything when her dad died, in the sense that I could sense she wanted to get back to normal more, so I knew more what to talk to her about. But when it's still in the midst of happening, it seems more impossible to just call her up and be like, "oh hey, how's it going?" But maybe that's what I need to do.

 

I've been trying to just keep in touch as much as possible for now, but it's hard 'cause they're in the midst of planning services and everything. She has two brothers and sisters-in-law, so at least she is not alone in all of that. Also, her work sent a friend down with her so she wouldn't have to come alone. The funeral is on Saturday and viewing is on Sunday, so I'm going down on Saturday and going to stay with her until Sunday evening. Once I'm there, I think it'll be easier to feel out what she needs and how to be there for her.

 

Thanks for the advice, guys. It's so hard to figure out what to do, when nothing seems like enough.

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