Dealing with Stuff
Supporting a friend whose sibling or parent has died
Support from friends like you will be vital. Start by letting them know you’re here for them.
Let your friend know you are there for them.
Contact your friend – even if it is just an email or text.
Don’t forget you are still the same friends you used to be.
The most important thing you can do for your friend right now is let them know that you are here for them.
They are going to need all the support they can get from friends like you throughout their grieving process.
That sounds like a lot of pressure but they’re still your same old friend, they’ve just found themselves in a really, really crappy situation.
How to Show Your Support
- Try to understand a bit about the grief that your friend will be experiencing. Although everyone experiences grief in their own way, it will be helpful for you to understand what they might be going through.
- Attending the funeral or memorial service is a great way to show right from the start that you are going to be there to support them.
- Talk to your friend: visit them, call them, text them, whatever it takes. This can be one of the hardest things to do for the first time. What to say? What NOT to say? Will they be different? Talking to a friend whose family member has just died from cancer might be difficult the first time, but it will get easier.
- Keep in touch with your friend regularly. You don’t have to visit them everyday or every week, but phones and computers are super handy in this situation: call, text, email, instant message, Facebook chat, write a letter… so many options = no excuses!
- Do something nice for them, it will help lift them and hopefully you’ll get one of those smiles out of them that you’ve been missing. You know your friend best, but here’s some ideas to get you thinking:
- Visit them and call beforehand to see if there’s any food they’re craving that you can bring along.
- Get some new music or DVDs for them that you know they’ll enjoy.
- Grab them their favourite magazine or a book they’ll enjoy.
- Get all of their friends to write messages on a card for them or even film them saying their messages.
- Get creative: paint/draw a picture, write a poem or story, make a short film, whatever you’re good at (let’s be honest, you don’t even have to be that good, they’ll love it anyway).
- The death of your friend's sibling or parent is a serious and life-changing thing. Sometimes you’ll need to have serious conversations. But remember, you’re still the same friends you used to be, it doesn’t always have to be about cancer and death. It’s okay to enjoy and talk about the same things you always have.
- Help them to celebrate and commemorate their loved one’s life. Buy them a photo album or frames, scrapbook, journal or anything else you think might be a good way to record memories. Then offer to help them or let them complete it on their own if they’d prefer.
Cancer messing with your friends life?
Cancer messing with your friends life is a postcard for friends of young people living with cancer. It includes practical tips about what you can do to support your friend and stay connected through their cancer experience.
Download your free copy of the postcard at the bottom of this page.
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