You share laughter and celebrate happy moments with your friend, but you support one another through unhappy times as well. When your friend loses her mom, you may feel unsure how to help her through this painful time. It’s OK to struggle with what to say, and what to do, advises Help Guide in “Supporting a Grieving Person.” Your presence communicates that you care, and can help your friend cope during this sad experience.

Be Available to Listen

Your friend will need time to grieve the loss of her mom. Grieving is the normal response to the emotional pain you experience when you lose someone you love. Everyone grieves differently, but your friend may seem sad, angry and confused, according to the Kids Health article, “Somebody in My Friend’s Family Died. What Should I Do?” Talking to friends and family members can help your friend to process some of her feelings. Your friend may not be ready to talk about her mom, but it’s important for you to provide the opportunity. You can say, “I’m very sorry about your mom. I am ready to listen if you would like to talk about her.”

Asking Is Better Than Guessing

It’s normal for you feel awkward about interacting with your friend, because you want to help her to feel better, and you don’t want to add to her discomfort by responding inappropriately. You can diminish some of the uncertainty by asking her what you can do to help her feel better. It doesn’t matter whether she wants to take a walk, ride bikes or share some favorite pictures of her mom. Your being there and sharing time with her is a source of comfort.

Accept Her Feelings

You can help your friend to feel OK about some of the many emotions she may experience. For example, tell her that it’s OK to cry, and you may cry with your friend. It can be upsetting to see a friend cry, but resist the temptation to say “Please don’t cry.” It may be difficult for you to understand your friend’s emotions right now, but you can help her by reassuring her that you care for her. Sometimes, it’s not necessary to say a word for your friend to understand that you accept her feelings. Offer a hug, or hold her hand, and sit quietly with your friend.

Share Any Worries

Your friend will need time to deal with the loss of her mom, but she will feel better. She won’t stop missing her mom, but some of the pain will lessen. If you notice that your friend doesn’t seem to feel better, talk about your concerns with a parent or teacher. Your friend may need to talk to a counselor or therapist to work through her grief.