About Us

GENESIS Bereavement Resources offers support and encouragement to bereaved people. Our carefully prepared books, brochures and DVDs address some of the issues around grief and bereavement as well as encouraging bereaved people in creating a new life.

About John Kennedy Saynor

Caring for a Grieving Friend

by John Kennedy Saynor


People who are friends of those who are bereaved are often baffled about what they can do or say to help. It is important to know that anything we say about bereavement is in general terms. Everyone responds differently and everyone has different needs. However there are some general things that can be said that may be helpful to you as you attempt to care for a bereaved friend.

How can you help?

  1. Your presence is very important. A hug, a touch, a kiss can provide a great deal of comfort.
  2. Offer to help with practical matters such as shopping, errands, a drive to the lawyer.
  3. Encourage the bereaved person to talk about the deceased, their feelings and their concerns. BE A GOOD LISTENER!
  4. Be willing to admit “I don’t know” when a grieving person asks “Why?” It is more often a cry of pain than a question expecting an answer.
  5. Learn to recognize the symptoms of grief. This enables you to say to a grieving person, “You are perfectly normal.”
  6. Be patient. Remember the period of recovery is determined by many factors and nobody recovers overnight.
  7. Encourage a bereaved person to express his or her feelings. Then, accept whatever feelings are expressed without taking them personally.
  8. Pay special attention to children. They need the security of the family at this time.
  9. Be aware of physical reactions. Encourage a grieving person to go to a doctor for a medical examination soon after the funeral is over.
  10. Make yourself aware of agencies that are available for bereaved people. Encourage a person to join a Bereavement Support Group or to seek someone for one-on-one counselling.
  11. Discourage a person from making any major changes within the first year.
  12. Remember, weekends, holidays and evenings are most difficult.
  13. Be willing to take the initiative socially for the first while and don’t expect anything in return.

Things to Avoid

  1. Don’t be afraid to cry openly. It gives a bereaved person an opportunity to comfort someone and a realization that they are not alone in their grief.
  2. Don’t use platitudes like “I know how you feel…He is much better off…It’s God’s will…Be brave…Well she had a good long life…”
  3. Don’t avoid the bereaved.
  4. Don’t hesitate to talk about the deceased.
  5. Don’t rush the bereaved.