When you spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week with someone, they often become like family. To lose them in an accident or through illness often feels like you’re losing a family member. It’s appropriate to express your sympathies to a friend who is grieving the loss of a beloved co-worker.
When You Live Nearby
If you live close to your friend, you can call or stop in to visit and offer your condolences. Since words seem so inadequate during this time, you can offer more practical help. Suggest that you babysit or watch their pets so they can attend the funeral or memorial service.
You can also offer to help them assist the family of the deceased co-worker. Perhaps you can make a meal that the person can take to the home. Sometimes doing something is easier than expressing the right words.
Find out how the loss of the co-worker will impact others. Your friend may need to spend longer hours at work, and you can offer to help out. Perhaps they could use your assistance by picking up kids from daycare or bringing over a dish for late-night dinners. The loss of this person could result in a long-term situation for your friend, and you may be able to make the transition period a little easier with practical assistance.
When You Live Far-away
If you don’t live close enough to help out, you should still express your sentiments to your family member or friend. Let them know you’re sorry they are going through this time. You can send them a card or flowers to express your sentiments. You don’t have to send anything to the family of the deceased co-worker unless you knew the person, but an expression of sympathy to your friend is appropriate.
You can also plan a short trip to see your friend after the funeral or memorial service has been held. Find out if your friend’s workload has been impacted, and offer to help out for a few days. Many times, everyone in an office or warehouse is affected when a co-worker dies. It may mean longer hours at work, added stress and chaos until a new person is hired and complex emotions.
Feel free to ask about the relationship between your friend and the co-worker. In some instances, they may have been the best of friends and in other cases, they may not have gotten along. You’ll formulate your comments based on your friend’s feelings towards the other person. In any situation, it’s entirely appropriate to acknowledge the situation even if you’ve never met the co-worker.
If you knew the person, you may express your own sympathies to the family as well as to your friend or family member. The main rule in all of your interactions is to be sincere. Don’t pretend feelings you don’t have, but address the situation in a calm, compassionate manner to provide the support and sympathy you intend.
Suzie Kolber is a writer at ObituariesHelp.org. The site is a complete guide for someone seeking help for writing words of condolences, sympathy messages, condolence letters and funeral planning resources.