Young Woman Reflecting on Loss

 

Written by Matt Frazer

 

Friends sometimes say things to the grieving that are well-meaning, but not appropriate or helpful. To avoid making the same mistake, here are some things to remember and things NOT to say at a time of loss.

 

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1. Don’t assume that the grieving thinks the loss is for the best or in any way a blessing.

 

“Everything happens for a reason.”
“He is in a better place.”

 

2. Don’t assume that the pain is any less because the person who died was older or very sick.

 

“He lived a long, full life.”
“At least she is not in pain anymore.”
“Be thankful you had him for so long.”

 

3. Don’t assume that because there are no children, that the pain is any less.

 

“At least they didn’t have any kids.”

 

4. Avoid comparisons. Everyone’s grief is unique.

 

“I know how you feel.”
“I understand how hard your loss must be for you and your children.”
“Let me tell you how my friend handled a rough time.”

 

5. Watch what you say. There is no replacement for the person who died.

 

“You are young, you can re-marry.”
“Be glad you have two other healthy children.”

 

6. Avoid clichés. They do not acknowledge the loss or feelings of the bereaved.

 

“Time heals everything.”
“Be strong.”
“You will never be given more than you can handle.”