What to say and what not to say to someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one
Finding the right words to say to someone who is grieving can be extremely challenging. It’s reasonable to be wary of speaking up in case you unintentionally offend or alienate them, but you may express your support by simply being there for them.
Avoid passing judgement and pay them empathetic attention. There is no timetable for grieving, therefore it is advisable to stay away from expectations that someone would start to feel better or stop talking about their loss after a predetermined period of time.
How to comfort a person who is mourning the loss of a loved one
Don’t try to sidestep or ignore the subject of the person’s loss when speaking to a mourning person. Don’t make the loss taboo, advises clinical psychologist Celia Bradshaw, PhD, who has a private practise.
Let them know that you’re open to speak about their loss while also allowing them pick if and when they want to open up. A grieving person may want to talk about their loss at some times and may not.
I deeply regret your loss.
Because you are only addressing the reality, rather than trying to offer advise or answers, this clear and simple remark is frequently the best. Just say something sincere, such as “I’m so sorry that this happened” or “It’s so awful to hear that your parent/sibling/friend died,” as it can be too formal for a friend or relative to understand.
I’m here to help you.
Keep them company or be prepared to listen “Being present and sympathetic with a grieving friend or family member while understanding their feelings is one of the most important things we can do for them.
My most treasured memory of your cherished one is…”
According to Vollmann, folks who are grieving frequently experience the reluctance of others to discuss the departed, but having a place where their loved one is remembered can be consoling.
I’m here to help in any way I can, even if I have no idea how you’re feeling.
It’s acceptable to admit that you aren’t exactly in their position, but that you are still there to help them with everything they may require. You will never truly understand how someone else feels because everyone grieves differently and because every relationship is different, even if you have experienced sadness in the past.
What not to say to a grieving person
Since it’s difficult to know what to say, especially when talking about death and sadness is constantly avoided, it’s crucial to be aware of the kind of empty comments that are typically harmful.
Hope it helps!