I don’t like generalizing anything about grieving because everyone’s grief is unique. However, I recently came across an article about what to know about grieving people. I picked out five things I think most grieving people would agree with, but more importantly they resonate with me.
- Grieving people don’t expect you to have the perfect words, but they do want you to say something.
I call this the elephant in the room. Death unfortunately is one of the biggest life experiences we have. Our society acknowledges positive life experiences like marriage or the birth of a child so please acknowledge when someone has died.
Trust me, I know sometimes we don’t say anything because we’re afraid to say the wrong thing or we want to say something to make the person feel better. Grieving people don’t expect you to say something that will make everything better. They just want you to say something. It can be simple like “you’ve been in my thoughts a lot lately” or “I’m so sad with you.”
- You don’t have to be in the inner circle of a grieving person’s friends to be a welcome companion in grief.
Unfortunately, almost every grieving person I’ve talked to has a story of someone close to them who disappeared. So don’t stay away just because you think they have closer friends helping them or that you’d be an unwelcomed intrusion. After Mike died, there were a few people who reached out to me that I wouldn’t have considered close friends, but every single one of them helped me more than I even could have imagined. I hear similar stories from other grieving people.
- Grieving people may not call you if they need something.
I used to be guilty of this one, too. If you say, “I’m here, call me if you need anything” it’s likely you won’t get the call. Instead, contact the grieving person and tell them something specific you can do for them. For example, say “I’m coming over on Tuesday afternoon to take your kids.”
- Grieving people always want to hear their loved one’s name.
Most grieving people fear their loved one will be forgotten. So to hear someone say their name or tell a story about them will make their day. Even if the grieving person sheds a tear, it’s OK. They will be grateful you brought up their loved one.
- It’s hard for a grieving person to answer questions about how they’re doing.
Most people approach a grieving person with “How are you doing”, which is simple and shows that you care. But it’s a tough question for a grieving person to answer because if they say “good” they’re lying. But to tell the truth that they’re really sad is just hard to say all the time.
I like the idea of asking a grieving person how they’re doing today. There are good days and bad days that come with the grief journey. So when someone asked me how I was doing that day, I would tell the truth. “Today is a bad day, but I know another good day is coming.” Or I would say “Today is a good day, thank you.”
Oh and one other thing I know is that grieving people feel good when they receive The MRP Project’s bags for a boost!
One bag went out last week to a woman who lost her sister. Thank you very much for your donations. Please don’t hesitate to nominate someone for a bag. They don’t have to be grieving from a death. It could be the loss of a marriage, a job, or they could be facing an illness or another type of hardship.
Thanks for supporting The MRP Project. Together, we’re making a difference by providing hope through social support.