When A Loved One Is Grieving

In the last few months I’ve had some conversations with friends and family about my grieving process after losing my son two and a half years ago.  I’ve learned that many don’t know what to do or say to someone who is grieving.  To be honest I really didn’t know myself before my loss, so I thought I would share my thoughts about this topic and what was comforting to me.


 Grief Expert, John Welshons, author of Awakening From Grief, says, “When a friend loses a loved one, our hearts ache for them. We want so much to comfort, soothe and make things better, yet we end up sputtering out the wrong words because we don’t know what to say when someone dies. We’re trained not to discuss death. On top of that, we’re uncomfortable with silence, crying and sharing someone’s grief, so we try to fix grief instead.” 

The hardest thing for me is silence.  If you are unsure as to what to say or do simply give a hug and tell them you are sorry and that you love them.  That’s all.  We aren’t looking for advice, just a feeling that we aren’t alone and that we are loved.

I know that every word spoken to me was said with good intentions.  I’m so very blessed with good friends and family who love me and took care of me.  I appreciated every word, hug, and call I received.  For many like myself we need those things even after a few months or even years.  When I was talking to others who have lost children they, like me, felt like maybe everyone forgets about their child and what they’ve gone through.  I’m pretty sure it’s not forgetfulness it’s just that many don’t want to bring up bad memories and want to be sensitive to our feelings.  Actually the opposite is true in my case.  I don’t want anyone to forget Jeremy.  I enjoy talking about him and the awesome person he was.  It doesn’t hurt for me to talk about my experience, in fact, it’s theraputic for me.  I worry more about making the other person uncomfortable.  Please know if you are comfortable talking most who are grieving will appreciate you bringing their loved one up.

Some times in our efforts to soothe and make things better the wrong words may come out.  Some words to avoid are:

  • Everything happens for a reason.
  • He’s in a better place now.
  • I know what you’re going through.
  • Time heals.
  • Any sentence that starts with “At least….”
  • Be thankful…..

Some good things to say are:

  • I’m here for you.
  • I’m coming over to give you a hug and to bring you dinner.
  • Share you favorite memory of the deceased or say tell me about your beautiful child.
  • I love you.
  • I’m so sorry.
  • Take your time with your grief.
  • What do you need most today?
  • My heart breaks for you.

We all go through hard things.  Even if it’s not a death of someone special it may feel like grief.  I think these do’s and don’ts would be helpful in most situations where someone is hurting.   I have learned so much through this process and hope I can be a better friend to those who need me.  

Does anyone have any further advice?  

Dru About Dru

There are so many things I could say but I will just start with the basics. Mother to 4. Grandmother to 11 (Yes, 11. All under the age of 9.) I am a former Army wife and we spent 15 years traveling around the world. It was such a thrill to have seen so many places and meeting lifetime friends. I spent many years working in the craft industry and love getting together with friends and creating. I have a lifelong love of thrift shops, antiques, and yard sales.

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