Don’t impose your values, beliefs, opinions or advice on the survivor. Remember it’s their tragedy and it should go their way, not yours.
Tragic events take away the survivors sense of control. The survivor’s basic challenge is to regain that sense of control. You can help by allowing him to make as many decisions and take as much action as possible. Don’t make one of the biggest mistakes: Taking Over.
If you listen for what the survivor needs and act to meet those needs, you will be an effective helper.
Don’t judge how a survivor is reacting. If you find survivors judging each other’s reactions, say “everyone grieves differently”.
Don’t try to diminish the enormity of the event. Ask the survivor about his experience, and validate it.
Remember that your overall gentle caring demeanor is more important to the survivor than what you say or do.