How to comfort people?

I like Forumosa forums couse people can get suggestions or commends from enthusiastic you.
You guys are always generous to share your opinions here.Now I need your suggestions.
My friend who is American is now suffering the pain of losing his loving mom.
He loves his mom very much.I am very sorry to hear that bad news.He is now in his hometown and dealing with all the stuff.At this moment,what should I say to him?
There is nothing people can do.Life comes and goes .
How to comfort people when they are suffering the pain of losing someone they love in your culture?

I think the best way to comfort someone is to be a caring presence, there when needed. You can comfort your friend by reminding him (with friendly calls and messages) that you are around and care about him.

Yeah, what he said.

Life is pain and then you die. All life is suffering.

Nah, that’s not really what you should say to him. There’s nothing really you can say except how sorry you are for his loss and that you’re there if ever he needs to talk to someone.

I lost nearly my entire family between the ages of 11 to 24. The last one to go was my mother. I have even lost my closest cousin to drug abuse and while the rest of my cousins are around 'cept I don’t know from Adam. In other words - anyone who mattered to me is gone. Uncles, Aunts, Grandfathers and Grandmothers, Parents…gone.

I can tell you this - no matter what you do - don’t baby them. Push them onto other things. The support most people give is “I’m so sorry for your loss” and that gets tired quickly. You begin to think that everyone should shut the fuck up.

That being said…the support you should give as a friend is to push them on in remembrance. Not of the bad times (The skeletons come out as soon as someone passes) but of the good times. Keep that spirit alive. Push your friend to keep moving. Push him/her to do the right thing. Tell them that you’re upset if they drift into a vice. Your support will be measured on how THEY deal with themselves. I’m not saying that what they do is your problem but I am sayin that if you chose to support someone who has lost a family member at an early age, that you are there to fill a void. Sure, you won’t be able to give the advice or the type of love a blood relative could. But…you can let them know what the deceased may think about their actions.

To a young man…his father is everything. To a man… his mother is the world.

edit I’m not a very well adjusted human being but I can say that if it weren’t for my friends in Canada; I’d probably be in jail or worse…dead.

Many people need time alone after a loss like this. Give him some space for awhile to work through the various stages of grief and loss. Then after a while let him know you are there to talk, when he is ready to talk.

Everyone experiences death of a loved one. It is part of life. You can’t make him feel better. Soon he will come to the stage where he celebrates his mothers’ life instead of grieving her loss.

Then you can join him in celebrating her.


Don’t say anything; just listen.

Pick up his bar tab for the next 2 weeks. If they are not comforted by that, I’m at a loss.

Let him have 1 month to work through this milestone in his life. Then try to get together with him to do something fun, to let him know life goes on with the living that still care about him.

[quote=“sandman”]Life is pain and then you die. All life is suffering.

I agree with that, this is the normal to bury your parents.

Every person reacts differently when they are hurting. Some people like to talk, so if that’s the case let him talk as much as he wants while you listen.

Others prefer to be alone for a period of time. You shouldn’t force this kind of person to open up, just let him know you are there for him whenever he needs you.

Other people want to be socially distracted, so they don’t have to think about the situation. With this kind of person, be there with him, but don’t make him talk about the situation unless he wants to.

A person who’s going through a hard time may not be able to articulate what he or she wants or needs from you, so it’s best to take cues from the individual person and then respond accordingly. The most important thing is to let the person know you care, but don’t push.

Simply put, the best one can do is to wield a firm grasp on maintaining the positive, and eliminating the negative. Especially in terms of energy. In dire times, it’s essential to harness and control any recurring negative siphoning off of both time and energy. Which would be better served on expanding the shrunken perimeter.

What has often worked for a few of us in situations like this is trying to recall how the recently departed loved one would want us to live & feel. Memory & remembrance can be powerful learning aids, for they keep the the meta-physical essence of the spirit alive.
Honor, yet grieve not greatly…

[quote]“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
— Kahlil Gibran[/quote]

I’ve often found it useful to encourage the person to tell about some of the fun moments they had with the deceased.It helps them to realise that those happy times will always be there while also distracting them from the sadness of their loss.

I think that you said your friend has gone back for the funeral?

I’d email him and offer to pick him up/ meet him at the airport. Just tell him that if he wants you to then to let you know the flight details. Of course it will be a heavy journey for him, it may well be the first time he’s sat down on his own for a couple of hours straight since the funeral. So if he accepts, you’ll just have to read his mood when he arrives- he may want distracting or he may want to go to a pub and talk, or maybe he’ll just want to go home.

Maybe you could also offer to take care of any little problems in Taiwan, like calling his landlady if his rent is due, stuff like that.

Other than that, just make sure that you arrange to meet up with him around the same as you did before- A couple of people have told me that when one of their parents died some people would just kind of avoid them because they didn’t know what to say. That made things much worse for them because for the most part they just wanted to get back to normal. (in a social sense). I think I’d go with just saying outright that you’re there if they want to talk about things, but that you’ll also understand if they don’t want to.
And don’t be surprised/panicked if the time they do suddenly decide to talk is in the middle of a pub, when everyone has had a bit too much to drink, just go with the flow.


There is no script for this. It is just something you have to play by ear. Realize he’s a friend, but he might need you and he might need space. Chances are, he’ll be glad to have both.


Thanks for all your sharing.I will be a good listener and do what a friend can do.I know it’s not easy to face the loss of beloved someone .Time will heal the pain.