What NOT To Say…
Even those persons with the best intentions might say something inappropriate to the bereaved.
Hurtful sentiments can damage relationships; so many individuals stay away, fearing they’ll say the wrong thing. So what can you do? Stick to the basics when speaking with the bereaved. Communicate in some way your sadness at their loss and if you have some knowledge of the deceased, mention a quality you admired. For example: “I was so sad to hear of Jill’s death. Her wonderful nature always gave me a lift.”
Statements that get you into trouble are often your interpretation of the loss. Here are some areas you might want to avoid:
1. Comments that minimize the loss, such as: “You must be relieved that this is over” or “It’s for the best that she didn’t linger.”
2. Inappropriate statements, such as: “This is a blessing in disguise.”‘
3. Any suggestion there is something good in the experience, such as: “Look on the bright side” or “Every cloud has a silver lining.”
4. Comparisons of your pain and your experience to the person who is grieving, such as: “You must feel as dreadful as I did when I got my divorce.”
5. Any reference that you know how they feel; it is impossible to know how another person is feeling, even if you have experienced a similar loss.
The aim of expressing sympathy is to offer your compassion and concern for the bereaved. You can and should say how much you will miss the person who died. You can even share a happy memory. The most important thing to communicate or to leave with the family or friend is that you care and that you are available as a source of support.
Share your thoughts…here
On Hearing Of The Loss
This is by no means exhaustive in how we act or react at the time of grief. It must be kept in mind that the main purpose of having a funeral or memorial service is to express your love and respect to the deceased and their family. It also means that there some closure or maybe healing or such-like during this process.
So you’ve heard about the loss of someone…
Should you visit the bereaved?
As mentioned in other places – sometimes we just don’t know what to do when we hear of the death of someone. However, it is polite and simply common courtesy to call-on the bereaved to offer your sympathy and maybe even offer to assist. Be mindful that other persons may be likely to do the same thing and this is where simply offering your availability should an extra hand or listening ear can work. In fact if on visiting the family member and they are overwhelmed either with grief or with visitors – then – make your visit short.
What do you do while visiting?
If you are close to the family and know them well, them it is okay to assist in handling the telephone or the visiting guests who may come by to offer a hand. It is okay to take over the tea or coffee making and setting as comfortable atmosphere and understanding for both visitor and grieving family.
I don’t know what to say…
This is where the human empathy comes into play. The words from the last motivational book or class which we took is not going to make the grade, to offer to the grief stricken person. Genuine words and thoughts from the heart are in fact much more appreciated. Okay, so we may not be most eloquent, but it may be as much to say, or jot down a few thoughts on paper and offer a good memory of the deceased. Sometimes, you don’t have to say anything as the loved ones may be the ones to do the talking and expressing their thoughts. You can let them lead the conversation as well, since this is also a way to deal with the loss, and you may not necessarily need to respond.
Should we email our thoughts?
If emailing thoughts it may be recommended to do this only if you are not a close relative or family friend. Generally – do not send an email…A hand written note or card says a whole lot more. Failing this – it may be best to be in contact with the funeral home, and include your email with the rest of tributes being offered.
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