As we age, we inevitably experience more loss. Loved ones pass away, friends become ill with incurable diseases. We grieve. Grieving can cause us to feel empty and vulnerable. We may feel lonely and our feelings are closer to the surface. This is a time when those around us who mean to be sympathetic, may not know what to say to us.
A few good choices to say to someone who is grieving are:
I’m sorry for your loss
Simple and direct, this makes the grieving person aware that you are acknowledging what they are going through.
How are you doing? Can I help with anything?
And then really listen to the answer you receive. When offering help, you can always add suggestions, such as a meal brought over or an afternoon together drinking tea and just talking.
I’m thinking of you
This would be a good time to give an example of your thoughts and give the grieving person a hug. Touch is very important when people are going through grief.
Many people feel awkward with friends who are grieving and may have a difficult time saying the appropriate thing. Have something to say ahead of time so you won’t stumble over your words when you see them. The list below comes from the well intentioned person who just doesn’t know what to say.
I’m sure it’s all for the best
For the person who is grieving, nothing is for the best. They are missing their loved one and would do anything to have them back.
Everything happens for a reason
No, it doesn’t. It just happens.
They’re in a better place now
This platitude should be avoided at all costs. The grieving person considers the best place their loved one could be is with them, not elsewhere.
Words quite often don’t tell someone how we feel. The grieving person may wish to be alone or on the other hand, may want someone with them. Spending your time with them and helping them get through the early days of grieving is the best way to help them. For more information on things to say to a grieving person, click here.