Watching someone wrestle with grief is never easy, especially someone we love. We just want to help but finding the right words can be difficult. Below we have listed some common phrases which you should avoid saying to someone who is grieving, and some more helpful phrases you can use instead.
What Not to Say
“I know how you feel.”
Although you might have experienced a similar loss, this can come across like you are making the situation about you. Try to keep the conversation about them and their experience. Instead, you could let them know that you’re there for them if they need to talk.
“Let me know if you need anything.”
People who are grieving can find it difficult to initiate reaching out to people. It may be because they don’t want to feel like a burden or because they are struggling to keep in touch. It’s more helpful to offer something specific, for example: “what do you need from the supermarket? I’m going this afternoon and can easily drop it off to you”.
It’s a natural response to look for the positives, but this can come across as if you are making light of their loss. It’s important that people feel comfortable experiencing the grief that their loss deserves.
What to Say Instead
“I miss them too.”
Let the person know that you are grieving with them. Try to resist comparing your loss with theirs and simply join them in their grief journey. This can also help them to feel less alone in missing their loved one.
“What I’d really like to do for you is…”
Suggest a specific, practical way you can help, as well as when you can do it for them. It could be something as simple as picking up their groceries, making them a meal, or just popping in for fifteen minutes to say hello. It is also important to give them the option of saying no if your offer does not suit them.
“They were such a wonderful person.”
Instead of trying to point out the silver linings, share your memories and stories with them. You can really connect with them in a meaningful way through a mutual appreciation of their loved one.
Things To Remember
It’s important to keep in mind that each person’s loss is different, and your relationship with each person is different too. Sometimes, they may not even want to talk about their grief at all, and that’s okay. If you are close with the person, it is likely that you will already have some ideas for how you can best support them. Just remember to be respectful of their needs and wishes at all times.
We hope this has provided you with some helpful guidance. You can read more articles about grief & healing on our blog.
Grinter’s Funeral Home proudly serves the people of Cambridge, Hamilton and the surrounding areas.