Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: When a man dies, his acts come to an end, but three, recurring charity, or knowledge (by which people) benefit, or a pious son, who prays for him (for the deceased). 1

The most important thing we can do is to make dua for the deceased. It is our continual prayer, dua and remembrance for the dead that will benefit them. 

In another hadith Narrated `Aisha: A man said to the Prophet, “My mother died suddenly, and I think that if she could speak, she would have given in charity. May I give in charity on her behalf?” He said, “Yes! Give in charity on her behalf.” 2

Upon Hearing the news of someone who just passed away:

In Arabic: إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّآ إِلَيْهِ رَٰجِعُونَ 
Transliteration “Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.”

This is ayah 156 of Surah Baqarah and is recommended by Allah to be recited when disaster strikes them.

Second Dua for Deceased:
 

اللهُـمِّ اغْفِـرْ لِـ-فُلاَنٍ (باسـمه)وَارْفَعْ دَرَجَتََـهُ فِي المَهْـدِيّيـنَ ، وَاخْـلُفْـهُ في عَقِـبِهِ في الغَابِِـرِينَ، وَاغْفِـرْ لَنَا وَلَـهُ يا رَبَّ العـالَمـين، وَافْسَـحْ لَهُ في قَبْـرِهِ وَنَـوِّرْ لَهُ فِيهِ

Transliteration: Allaahummaghfir li (name of the person) warfa’ darajatahu fil-mahdiyyeena, wakhlufhu fee ‘aqibihi fil-ghaabireena , waghfir-lanaa wa lahu yaa Rabbal-‘aalameena, wafsah lahu fee qabrihi wa nawwir lahu feehi

Meaning: O Allah, forgive [name of the person] and elevate his station among those who are guided. Send him along the path of those who came before, and forgive us and him, O Lord of the worlds. Enlarge for him his grave and shed light upon him in it.  

Conclusion:

Death can be difficult, each of us has our own way of coping. There is no right or wrong ways as we each have our own natural emotional response. However, there are healthy approaches one can take.

Being ‘strong’ is common advice given, but know that crying or feeling vulnerable is a completely normal response to the situation. You shouldn’t suppress this feeling or think of yourself as weak for doing so. The mature thing is to be aware and acknowledge your pain and to seek out support from those who care. Don’t forget to take care of yourself and remain physically active. Get some sun, some exercise and some sleep, it’s good for you. 

Understand the feeling of pain comes from believing you have lost something. Instead, be grateful for the experiences you had the opportunity with the person. We are selfish beings, we want everything positive with no negative. But understand you can’t experience love without the chance of feeling the pain. It’s the ying and yang. Celebrate and cherish the memories instead of getting upset at what once was.

Remember one of the best ways to benefit the one who passed away is to remember him in your duas and prayers. You may even fast and give charity on their behalf.

Allah knows best, Inshallah we will all be reunited in Jannah where we will see each other again.

I encourage you to share your story in the comment section below.

References:

1. Reference: Sahih Muslim 1631 In-book reference : Book 25, Hadith 20
2. Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari 2760 In-book reference : Book 55, Hadith 23
3. Muslim 2:634