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Thursday 9 November 2023

Best and Worst Things to Say to people in grief

Recently Oprah posted an article about dealing with people who are grieving. Here at The Glam Reaper (And Muldowney Memorials) we understand grieving to be loss of any kind - watch my TedTalk to hear my view directly. 

Loss can be the loss of a job, a partner (death/divorce), a child (death/divorce/emancipation/distance/kidnapping), a pet (death/stolen/divorce), an object that was stolen or a home that was ransacked or just simply sold. It can be a myriad of things and more so we need to be gentle with each other and with ourselves on how we deal with others who are grieving. 

Grief specialist /counselor and author David Kessler  says 

“the most visited page (on his website is the ‘Best and Worst Things to Say’ to people in grief, and it is most visited in the middle of the night….This tells me that people are up, trying to figure out the right words.”

Here are *some of the tips that are provided in the Oprah Daily article

*altered slightly, as we dont agree 100% with everything suggested in the article

  • Don’t avoid the topic.
    •  They haven’t forgotten the loss, they never will. Avoidance doesn’t help, it just ignores the elephant in the room. If it's a person or a pet - use their name. Recall memories naturally. The love is still there, that doesn't go away.
  • Don’t “bright side” the situation. 
    • I confess that sometimes I have to stop myself from being a ‘positive polly’ with friends because, like most of us when a friend is in pain, we just want to make them feel better. This can have a time and a place and there is no harm in asking when in doubt. Listening is the best tool you can be armed with as a friend, and if you listen well, you'll hear the right moment (if one comes) to help them focus on the future or the best.
  • Offer tangible support
    • "I can bring your dinners on these days, is that helpful?"
    • "Let me walk your other dogs/feed your other pets for you next week"
    • "Can I bring you to the courthouse/cemetery one of the days this week?"
  • When you go blank, just be honest. 
    • “I just don’t know what to say”
    • "I have no clue what this pain must be like but tell me, if you want. I'm here to just sit with you"
    • "I wish I had some words that would help"
  • Say nothing, just BE with the person. Physical contact can also help when permitted.

    None of this is easy or is there a perfect way to go about it. It's rough no matter what information you are armed with. There is a lot on Kesslers website I personally disagree with and he is a 'specialist' so all that tells me is reaffirming that GRIEF IS UNIQUE and completely personal and individualized. There is no right or wrong way but merely helpful information and knowledge we can arm ourselves with to help BE there for our loved ones who are going through it.