A while back a friend of mine really went through a rough patch. She was dealing with the death of a family member and it hit her very hard. It's times like these I go overboard. I wanted her to feel better so much that I probably ended up bugging her more than I helped. Finally, she said, "Just you being here is enough. Sit down and let's just talk." She talked about her grief, her thoughts, her anger.... the whole lot of it. It was like a weight lifted off of her when she was done, and I was thankful that she was honest with me in telling me to just shut my yap and listen.
Of course, I just wanted to help. Up until that point I kept telling her how the person that passed was happy and in a better place, how things would be okay... but she didn't want to hear that. She wanted me to listen to the things she remembered about that person. It was almost as if she was afraid that if she didn't tell me about him, he would disappear from her memory.
From that point, I changed the way I helped her. I went more gingerly, letting her decide if I should pick up the kids from school or just sit still as she talked about the woman in her life that she missed so much.
It's hard to always do and say the right things, but when you help a friend grieve in whatever way they need to, they will be thankful you were there.