The funeral was lovely. It was packed with friends paying their respects. But once everyone else has gone back to normal routines, close family and dear friends still grieve for the lost loved one. They may feel that the world has passed them by and feel very alone.

Now is a perfect moment to make a difference to a grieving friend. If you can, reach out and show you care.

Spend time together. Take grieving friends out for a cup of coffee or lunch. Or, attend a game or go for a walk together. Set up a regular time, perhaps weekly, that can be counted on. Looking forward to a regular walk and talk just might take some of the sting out of the grief.

Offer a listening ear. Be there for them to share a memory, to cry, to vent, and to ask some of the hard questions. "Why me?" "How can I go on?" You don't have to have the answers, just listen. Your caring might be a lifeline to them and add a sense of normalcy to their sadness.

Share your own loss experience. If you have a loss in common, such as a child, parent, or friend, you might be able to gently share how you coped and got through a hurdle. It's nice to be able to talk to a trusted friend who "has been there." Perhaps you could share how you got through your first holidays or significant anniversaries. One very helpful suggestion for me, for example, was to plan ahead and decide what I wanted to do during those first holidays.

Work on a project together. Every day tasks can seem impossible to do alone, but the help of a friend can bring smiles and the satisfaction of a job well done. So, volunteer to help them make holiday cookies, clean out a closet, organize photos, fix the car, or whatever is on their list.

Give a small gesture of kindness. Even on the worst day, knowing that someone is thinking about you can really lift your spirits. Send a little card, share a flower from your garden, or bring over a yummy cupcake. It doesn't have to be much.

Grief can be a very long journey. You have the golden opportunity to lighten someone's load while they travel that tough long haul when most everyone else has left. Now is a time to reach out and be there.

Copyright 2013 Allidah Hicks and Bonnie Knuti. All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Allidah Poole Hicks and Bonnie Knuti are the experts in simple, practical, and fun answers to the question, "What can I do to help?" when a crisis strikes. Learn how to make a difference when an illness, accident, or death hits someone you know. Download a free chapter of their award-winning book, When Crisis Strikes... What To Do, What To Say, How to Help: