Mostly Risible, a blog by a funny, sharp-witted woman who also happens to be a hospice volunteer, posted these items on grief at her place recently. I would like to share them because these pieces were very helpful for me, and might help others deal with a friend’s, or a personal loss.
For those who have experienced loss of a loved one:
Please don’t ask me if I’m over it yet.
I’ll never get over it.
Please don’t tell me he’s in a better place.
He’s not here with me.
Please don’t say he isn’t suffering any more.
I haven’t come to terms of why he had to suffer at all.
Please don’t tell me how you feel
Unless you’ve lost someone in the same way.
Please don’t ask me if I feel better.
Bereavement isn’t a condition that clears up.
Please don’t tell me at least you had him for so many years.
What year would you like your loved one to die?
Please don’t tell me God never gives us more than we can bear.
Please just say you’re sorry.
Please just say you remember my loved one if you do.
Please mention my loved one’s name.
Please be patient with me when I am sad.
Please just let me cry.
For those who know someone who had recently experienced a loss:
How to Help Grieving People- What You Can Say, What You Can Do
- Read about the various phases of grief so you can understand and help
the bereaved to understand.
- All that is necessary is a hand squeeze, a kiss, a hug, your presence.
If you want to say something, say "I’m sorry" or "I care."
- It is not necessary to ask questions about how the death happened. Let
the bereaved tell you as much as they want when they are ready. A helpful
question might be, "Would you like to talk about the death? I’ll listen."
- Don’t say, "I know just how you feel."
- The bereaved may ask "Why?" It is often a cry of pain rather
than a question. It is not necessary to answer, but if you do, you may reply, "I
don’t know why. Maybe we’ll never know."
- Don’t use platitudes like "Life is for living," or "It’s
God’s will." Explanations rarely console. It’s better to say nothing.
- Recognize the bereaved may be angry. Encourage them to acknowledge their
anger and to find ways of handling it.
- It is good to cry. Crying is a release. People should not say, "Don’t
- Be available to listen frequently. Most bereaved want to talk about the
person who has died. Encourage them to talk about the deceased. Do not
change the conversation or avoid mentioning the person’s name. Talking
about the pain slowly lessens its sting. Your concern and effort can make
a big difference in helping someone recover from grief.
- Be patient. Don’t say, "You’ll get over it in time." Mourning
may take a long time. They will never stop missing the person who has died,
but time will soften the hurt. The bereaved need you to stand by them for
as long as possible. Encourage them to be patient with themselves as there
is no timetable for grieving.
- Offer to help with practical matters such as errands, fixing food, caring
for children. Say, "I’m going to the store. Do you need bread, milk,
is not helpful to say, "Call me if there is anything I can do."
- Accept whatever feelings are expressed. Do not say, "You shouldn’t
feel like that.
- The bereaved may appear to be getting worse. This is often due to the reality
of death hitting them.
- Depression is often part of grief. It is a scary feeling. To be able to
talk things over with an understanding friend or loved one is one factor
that may help a person not to become severely depressed.
- Don’t say, "It has been four months (six months, a year, etc.). You
must be over it by now." Life will never be the same.
- Don’t avoid the bereaved. It adds to their loss. As the widowed often say, "I
not only lost my spouse, but my friend as well."
by the Funeral Consumers Alliance