photo above courtesy of bing/grief
This topic was submitted by Tracy C – Justsuminspiration FB follower
When it comes to grief or consoling someone facing a tragedy, it can be hard to come up with the right thing to say that fits that individuals situation during the time. But, if I can be honest with you, there really is no right answer or right words, however; there are plenty of wrong words and/or statements that you can say that’ll make that grief period confusing as well as annoying to the griever.
It’s common to want to make people feel better about a loss – it’s almost like our instincts quickly jump to the most “helpful” and “mesmerizing” words that will console the individual quicker. And while you may mean well, as we all do, the griever may view those statements completely differently.
I’m sure you’ve heard such sayings as:
Really?, I mean – did you know them like that? It’s not safe to say those words because you don’t know what type of relationship that person had with God or if they even believed in him. We can’t assume that we automatically know a person’s religious preference and while this statement may seem like a “traditional” go to. It can be offensive for the griever whom may be battling with religious issues and etc. themselves. Now, if you had a personal relationship with the family and the deceased then this statement may be okay, just keep in mind – it may not resonate well with everyone.
Anddddd, I know you’ve heard this:
Uh-Okay! Yes, they do need something…first, for you not to say that and not follow through and second they just experienced a loss, so of course they need you! I honestly think this is my worst statement to hear because, it’s always easy for people to throw out the sentence “if you need me” but what they’re really saying is “Look, I really don’t know what else to say so I hope and pray you really don’t need me because I really don’t know what to do if you said YES!” When a person is in grief, they’re thinking about their loved one or the job they just lost that maybe they felt like they were going to be on until retirement, now their finances are in question. So yes, they do need you – but don’t tell them to let you know, because nine times out of 10, if they’re like me – they won’t say anything to you. Just spring into action and do something special for them – take them food, offer to go out or just go over and listen to them vent or cry. Sometimes, that’s all people really need.
Another kicker is this one:
Why would you ask them that? You already know how they’re doing – they’re miserable and bringing it up, may have just opened back up the wound that their still trying to process. The best thing to do in this situation is to not bring up what happened. When they’re ready to talk about it, they will at their own time on their own terms. It might sound a little picky but we never know where a person may be in their mental processes nor the affect it will have on the individual by bringing it up. Being there for them is good enough and I’m sure there are many other things you can bring up that will bring them cheer and not despair.
A couple of other no no’s are:
How did he/she die?
That’s a HUGE, NO NO! I have to say it irked me a little when I was asked that question when my mom passed in 2016. Like, can we get over the shock of her passing before you attempt to ask how she died? I know, I know….you may think that this is a fair common question, but not when the family or individual is trying to process the loss themselves; their loved one may have been sick for quite a while but asking can be touchy as that person may not be ready to reveal such personal information. Again, let the individual tell you all about that when they’ve gotten past the funeral; eventually you’ll find out what truly happened but it’s definitely not a dinner table discussion that immediately deserves an answer – Let them grieve now; the answers will come later.
And last, but certainly not least:
I Know what you’re Going through
You really don’t know what the person is going through or how they actually feel unless you’ve suffered a traumatic loss yourself. You can’t say, I know what you’re going through if you’ve never loss your mother, father, child, pet or etc. So please don’t say that, the best thing to say is “I don’t know what you’re going through and can’t imagine how you must feel.” That may not be what the griever wants to hear, because in actuality we all want to talk to someone whose had our same experiences, especially when it comes to death, but at least they’ll know you’re being honest and will respect you for not saying something that you have no idea about personally.
These were just a couple of ones that I’ve heard or have been told – What grief statements have you heard that made you go….hmmmm…. – or what do you or have you said or done to someone whom was grieving. This doesn’t have to just stay with “death” but any loss. Share them below in the comments!
I want to give a Special Shout Out to Tracy C. for this topic! I really appreciate you, thanks for following, reading, commenting and just being AWESOME!
If you would like to see what next week’s topic will be, tune in next Tuesday between the hours of 2:30pm and 3:00pm on the Justsuminspiration FB page – I may just go live or post a video of me pulling the next topic – just like I did this one!
Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of A Blog, A Magazine. It’s JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager