We all are guilty of saying goofy and inappropriate things to someone after they have experienced a death or a loss.
We feel that we have to say something.
And so sometimes without much thought we blurt out something that we consider to be comforting.
The only problem with that is sometimes it is more hurtful than helpful!
And the after effects of that hurt can linger for many years.
I don’t want you to be afraid to say something, to a loved one or friend, but consider the circumstances and always think before you speak.
I have listed below just some of the phrases I have read, as well as some of the non-comforting statements received that many have shared with me over the years.
20 things you probably should not say to someone who is grieving!
1. Don’t cry
2. Are you still crying?
3. It’s been a long time. You should be moving on
4. You can have other children/ or at least you have other children
5. At least you’re young; you can get married again
6. You are holding up so well
7. I know how you feel
8. God won’t give you more than you can handle
9. Now God has another angel in heaven
10. You must be strong
11. They lived a long life
12. He/she is in a better place now
13. How old was he/she?
14. I can imagine how hard this is for you
15. Call me if you need something
16. He/she isn’t hurting anymore
17. It must have been God’s will
18. It could have been worse
19. Let’s not talk about it because it will just upset you
20. Time will heal
Don’t try to answer their questions of “why?”
Sometimes we mean well, but some of the things that we say to family, friends and even strangers after they’ve experienced a loss can be very upsetting; even if it was not intentional.
We weren’t ever really taught how to grieve well or what to say to those who are grieving; but the good news is that we can learn.
Listed below are a few helpful things that you can say or do:
1. LISTEN! LISTEN! LISTEN!
2. Tell them that you are praying for them
3. I am sorry for your loss
4. Give a (((HUG)))
5. I don’t know what to say
6. Be present- if you don’t have time to listen don’t ask how are you doing because the answer may not be “fine”
7. Be specific about what you will do to help
8. Say the name of the person who died
9. Ask, “how are you really feeling?”
10. Be patient
11. Don’t try to “fix” the grieving person.
12. Encourage them to attend a support group, if they are interested
13. This must be very painful for you
14. Listen without offering advice or judgements
Don’t beat yourself up, we have all said things that we wish we could take back.
And for those who are grieving, give grace to those who are hoping to comfort you.
Think before you speak and if you can’t think of anything to say… Don’t say anything. Give a hug or just offer a listening ear.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
What are some of the non-helpful things you’ve heard on your journey?