One Thing You Need to Do for a Grieving Person

sad woman

I’ve been asked to speak about grief next month. The group wants me to discuss things people should do (and not do) for grieving people.

In preparation for this talk, I’ve been doing some reading and talking to people who are on grief journeys. Because everyone’s grief is unique, it can difficult to know what to say or do. However, the one universal thing we can all agree on is that we want you to acknowledge our loved one has died.

Don’t put pressure on yourself to say something profound or worry you’re going to make the grieving person more upset. Why? Nothing you say is going to take their pain away. And when you bring up their loss, it’s not going to make them feel worse. In fact, the opposite is true. . 

Often times, the bereaved feel alone in their grief because people are too uncomfortable to say something. Even worse, some people try to avoid the grieving person. That’s never a good idea. Below are a couple examples of things you can say/do.

Examples of What to Say/Do

  1. You’ve been on my mind a lot lately. That alone works in acknowledging their grief. You could take it a step further and say: I hope you’re finding some moments of comfort and peace
  2. If you need anyone to listen, I’m here. Our culture is so grief adverse that everyone wants to offer advice in an attempt to fix the bereaved. The truth is that no one can fix a grieving person. We’re on a healing journey to learn to live with our grief. But we’ll never be fixed. So, don’t try to offer advice. The best thing you can do is offer an ear and then really listen if they take you up on it.

Therapists often help grieving people cope by telling them to practice or role play how they’ll deal with certain situations. After Mike died, the first thing I practiced was what to say when someone asked me where my husband was. Just knowing I had a go-to answer that I was comfortable with lessened my anxiety. 

So if you’re ever worried about what to say to specific people who are grieving, just practice. It will lessen your anxiety and you’ll no doubt make the grieving person happy!   

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