Wednesday, August 2, 2017

What Grieving Friends Wish You Wouldn't Say. 10 Things Not to Say to A Friend Who Has Lost A Spouse

by Monica Bobbitt

When someone experiences a loss of a loved one, we want to comfort them and offer them support. But often, those words of condolences can do more harm than good.

Here are ten things not to say to someone who is grieving:
1 I know how you feel.
No, you actually don't. Even if you have suffered a similar loss, everyone's grief is unique to them; different relationships, different circumstances, different people--different grief.

2. If I were you.
But you're not and you can't possibly know what you would do in that situation. Also, see #1.

3. Call me if you need me.
Someone who has just experienced a loss is very unlikely to reach out to you for help. It's better for you to call them, leave a message if they don't answer. "I'm here for you. I'll check in again in a few days." Sometimes just knowing you are being thought of and are not alone is more than enough.

4. What do you need?
A grieving person in all likelihood has no idea what they need. There are so many things that have to be done, pick one and offer to do it. Groceries, pick up/ drop off kids, laundry, cleaning, mowing, shoveling. The list really is endless.

5.They are in a better place.
Really, a better place than here with the people who love them? Not everyone shares the same belief system, so don't assume the grieving person believes in your views about the "afterlife."

6. It was God's will.
I'm no theologian but just no. Also, see #5...not everyone shares the same religious beliefs.

7. They had a good/full life.
Don't assume you know what kind of life they lived. They may have suffered for years with a debilitating physical or mental illness, or they could well have died with anger and regret.

8. They had a long life- while this may be true, it is never easy saying goodbye to someone you love, no matter how old they are. We all want more time with the people we love.

9. You'll get remarried.
No one can ever replace the person they have lost. Even if they do get remarried or have another child, that doesn't mean they no longer miss the spouse or child they lost. Also, you don't actually have a crystal ball to predict the future.

10. Nothing at all.
Silence isn't always golden, especially when it is in the form of avoidance. It's actually hurtful. Don't avoid a bereaved friend because you don't know what to say. If you don't know what to say, start with "I'm sorry."

Grieving the loss of a loved one is the most excruciating pain someone can endure.
The best way you can support them is to be present, listen, and allow them to grieve in their own way, at their own time.

After all, it's their grief, not yours.
Let them own their own grief.

"Easy for you to say God needed another angel—since God didn’t ask you for yours."~Angela Miller

Chat soon,

To learn more about grief, resiliency, and life after loss, follow Monica Bobbitt on Facebook:

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