How To Comfort My Best Friend
by Deb Sims, MS,RNCS,LCSW
My best friend is 17 and I am 15. Her dad, whom she loved very, very much,
just died of cancer. No one I've known has ever died, so I don't know how to comfort my best friend. I just don't know what to say to her. Please send some advice. Thank you.
What a thoughtful and caring friend you are to be asking how to help her. You don't need to be an expert to be genuine. And that's what she'll need the most: to be able to talk about the loss and know you care. It's really not about what you say but that you care enough to express your caring.
Do be aware that sometimes someone else's loss brings up fear within us about losing someone. That's normal. I'd suggest that you just tell her you care and you'd like to be there for her in whatever way is helpful to her. Don't feel like you have to solve anything or make her pain go away. Your role is that of a friend. You don't have to be her counselor. That will relieve you of feeling responsible to "fix" her. There are some articles at this web site on what to say and what not to say. And you can introduce her to this site.
I lost my father at 12. What helped the most were friends that just stuck by me. They didn't have to have magical answers, just caring and friendship.
Thank you for letting me respond to your very insightful question.
Debbie Sims is a Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist in Adult Psychiatric Nursing, has a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She maintains a private practice in counseling but her devotion is to her position as Editor for Beyond Indigo an Internet web site for those who are grieving.