DEAR HARRIETTE: A friend of mine just lost her father after a prolonged illness, and now her mother is ill. It's such a tragic story, it makes me sick. Her mom was the caregiver for years. Now that her husband is gone and she can finally relax, she falls ill and is in critical condition. My friend is beside herself in grief and worry. I don't know how to help her. What can I do? -- Dealing with Grief, Boston
DEAR DEALING WITH GRIEF: Be a friend to your friend by offering an attentive listening ear. If it sounds like she can use a break and can steal away for a bit, invite her over for dinner or a night out. Offer to support her in whatever ways work for you, especially while her mother is in critical condition.
While you cannot do a lot, just consistently letting your friend know that you love her and are available to support her should help her to feel less isolated through this difficult period.