In a conversation tonight, a colleague let me know that his mother just passed away I feel terrible for him and… I don’t know… I want to be able to help, somehow, without invading his privacy.
I’m posting here because I’m young and I’ve never had to deal with this situation before. What would be appropriate? My colleague and I are friendly but not particularly close. I wrote an email expressing sympathy and offering to help out with work-related stuff and offering to help with daily chores, etc. if he needed any of that.
Should I just leave it at that and let him grieve? Is there anything else I should or could do?
It seems to me that you’ve hit the high points. Sometimes people just want to be left alone to deal with things on their own. Let it go, if he doesn’t take you up on your offer.
One more thing you might offer is that you would be willing to provide a sympathetic ear if he just wants to talk about things. The littlest things are often the most appreciated.
Whatever you do, don’t make your offer to help about yourself. If he’s not comfortable accepting help, you can end up simply adding to his stresses.
Don’t be silent. When somebody dies they are missed a great deal by the ones left behind. Ask your friend some questions that may bring up some happy memories to share. Such as, “In what ways are you most like your mom?” or “What was the most important thing she taught you?” And be okay with tearing up and crying.