Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What not to say to a grieving person

Kenichi Hoshine http://kenichihoshine.com/
Here is some great advice from socyberty http://www.socyberty.com/Death/What-Not-to-Say-to-a-Grieving-Loved-One.104149 . Often we feel the need to say something to a grieving person that will make things better. Nothing we can say do that, so we need to just express our love, sympathy and concern.

It can be hard to know what to say to someone who has lost someone. Here is a list of ten things not to say.

  1. I Know How You Feel
    Even if you have lost someone close to you, you don't know how they feel. Everyone feels differently
  2. Everything Happens For a Reason
    Even if that's what you believe and even if that's what they believe, that is not what they want to hear. This has probably already crossed their mind.
  3. You Just Need to Move On
    No. This is insensitive. When someone loses someone it takes a lot of coping and adjusting, it is impossible to "just move on."
  4. Just Keep Busy and Move On
    As with number 3 people need to cope in their own way.
  5. Get On With Life
    The ONLY time this should EVER be said is when the person is in danger. It should be said in a gentle way and get help for the person if needed. However, for the first while life is not going to go on for the person.
  6. Things Will Get Better
    While this may be true, it doesn't seem like it to the person and will probably only frustrate the person.
  7. They Are in a Better Place Now
    Unless you are sure of the person's religious beliefs, don't say this, it may insult them.
  8. God is Taking Care of Them Now
    See number 7. Also people are sensitive after suffering a loss and may take this as if they weren't good enough to take care of the person.
  9. It Was Just Tissue
    This only really applies in miscarriages, but the person loved this "tissue." It was her baby and child. This is insulting and insensitive.
  10. You Can Still Have More Kids
    This only really applies for the death of a child or a miscarriage, but despite other kids or the prospect of other kids, they loved this child and nothing will ever replace them.
In the end the best thing to say and do is just to hug them, be there for them, let them know that you are there for them, and that you love them.
For more, visit Part 2


Leila Marvel said...

Wow, this list is interesting, because I have almost heard all of these before at funerals. Even I said one or two before, these are great and I should be more conscious of what I say to people in that situation, because you are right everyone is different.

Anonymous said...

As funeral directors we are told to simply say "My condolences on the loss of ....".

Jack said...

I heard the last one after our 3 year old daughter passed away. I really just wanted to punch that person in the face. I know he didn't mean it, but it was still hard to hear.

Anonymous said...

I would also suggest when meeting with a grieving family and checking everyone is there so you can start talking when they say "There is My sister but she is late" it is best not to say "Oh that is ok, I will wait for her, I was early". Not my best moment!

Tad said...

I think just saying I'm so very sorry for your loss and mean it will suffice.

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