I have been focusing the last few blogs on the support system of the grieving. It is very important for the people who make up a support system to know how to support the grieving and recovery process. Today, we take a look at some common things you may say thinking it is helpful.
It is natural for people express words of comfort those we love in their time of pain and sorrow. Your intentions are good. But are you actually helping or hurting? Have you ever stopped and thought about how your words affect people? Or maybe you blurted out an old stand by phrase that is meant to bring comfort.
Phrase to avoid if you want to comfort someone.
I know how you feel. Unless you have been through a similar situation you have no clue how the hurting person feels. And even if you have been through a similar situation, you still can’t understand the other persons emotions. Why? Because each person is unique. Their relationship with the person they are grieving is unique. You may never no the depth of emotions they are going through. And even if they tell you what they are going through, it is still hard to understand because you are not them.
He is in a better place or God was finished with him here and wanted him in Heaven. As a Christian I do believe that a Christian who dies is in Heaven. However, when you say those things, it is about the deceased and not comforting the grieving. The grieving has just lost someone they love and it impacts their life. Especially if they lived in the same house, the loss impacts their day to day life. Comforting the grieving is acknowledging their loss and the emotions that surround that loss.
What are you going to do now? This question should never be asked! How many of you have a plan for what to do when someone you love dies? No one? I thought so. This question puts a lot of pressure on the grieving. I was asked that question a lot right after my husband died. I was in no state of mind to answer that question let alone think about the future. I was in deep pain. My world had just turned upside down. I needed time to grieve my loss without pressure about the future.
Aren’t you over it yet? Why don’t you find someone else? You can’t ask someone to get over it and move on. When you do, you are denying their emotions and experience. Grieving is a process. You can not put a time limit on the process or expect them to be the same as before. If that is what you expect, you are making it about you (what you want, what makes you comfortable about the situation) instead of the grieving.
So, what are the best things to say to the grieving? How can you be a comfort?
- Tell them that you are sorry for their loss. Just that simple phrase. There is no need for anything else.
- Let them know that they are in your thoughts and prayers.
- You could just give them a hug, a gentle squeeze of the hand, or a gentle hand to the shoulder. This says you care about them without saying any words.
- Say nothing at all. Just be with them and listen. If they do not feel like talking that is okay. Be comfortable with the silence. Sometimes sitting in silence with someone who is in pain says more than words ever could.
- Find ways to be helpful without asking what can you do. You can mow the lawn, wash the dishes, run errands, just make sure you are not being pushy or overstepping the boundaries.
Finally, be mindful of the things you say. Sure you may slip from time to time. We say things that we have heard others say in times of grief because we do not know what else to say.
As always I welcome your feedback and questions. You can leave them in the comments below. If you like what you read let me know with a thumbs up and share with others.
If you know someone who is grieving, consider sharing this website with them.
Remember that you are not alone, I am here to walk along side of you.
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