Losing a loved one is a very painful experience. Grieving can go on for a very long period of time. When our family or friends lose a loved one, we instinctively want to comfort them.
You may be unsure about what to say when the person is feeling depressed, anxious, edgy or outrightly angry. Therefore, it is important to mind the kind of words of consolation used.
Not Saying Anything
Deliberately not reaching out because you feel uncomfortable is hurtful to the deceased person. People who are bereaved need a lot of care, affection and attention.
Saying It Is God’s Will
Never utter something about God that you can’t say while standing before casualties of war. Saying “God has a will in this” implies that God is controlling evil and causing it.
Saying “God just wanted another angel” is not only a theologically wrong statement, but it makes God a culprit. It says something negative about the character of God.
Being Too Humorous
Humor may relieve stress, but when the person is in an emotional agony, your words might make the person feel worse.
Telling The Person How to Feel
Vulnerability is a necessary character of a bereaved person. It is wrong to tell them to “be strong” or to “get over it”.
What You Should Say
Let your words be supportive and affectionate. Do not be judgmental of the deceased person, even if the person had committed suicide. Don’t talk about how their loss affects you.
Do Not Say
Whatever you do, try not to say the following words:
“I didn’t visit because I hate hospitals.”
“I didn’t call because I knew you wanted to be alone.”
“I know how you feel.”
“At least you’re young, you’ll find a new husband.”
“At least he lived a long life, many people die young.”
“It’s a blessing that you have other children.”