If you have been on this earth for 20 years or so you have probably experienced grief, heck some people as young as 5 years old has had the unfortunate experience of losing someone close to them. If you have not experienced grief before count yourself lucky, not a lot of people can say that. Now the word grief is defined as ”intense sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death” but it can be the loss of a beloved pet as well.
I have lost my fair share of people very close to me before, a cousin, my granny and more importantly my dad. Losing my dad was one of the most difficult things to ever happen to me. It happened so suddenly and while I was still on honeymoon.
Anyone who has experienced loss before will tell you how painful it was and probably still is. They can attest to how they take it one day at a time. You have certainly also heard or experienced an outpour of love and support from friends, family and even strangers. When you are going through something hectic like loss it is in most peoples nature to want to be there to assist and even give a few words of sympathy, unfortunately, a lot of people miss the mark in this regard. as much as it comes from a good place a lot of people really don’t know what to say, how to say it or when to not say a thing at all.
When this happened to me at first I thought I was maybe a bit too sensitive in my grieving process and that I’m over thinking it until till about a year or so later when a close friend of mine lost his dad and posted something on facebook. Something along the lines of what not to say to a grieving person. To my surprise, most of the things that irritated me or drove me crazy were on his list and that is what inspired this post.
What not to say to a person grieving a loss.
- “I know how you feel” uh no you actually don’t, I don’t even know how I feel at times. Even if you lost the exact same person in the exact same manner you still don’t know how I feel, Heck, not even my siblings know how I feel. WHY?because basically my relationship with the person/animal who passed away is different from how your relationship was.
- “You have to be the strong one” For your mom/siblings/family etc- says who though? who gives anyone the right to decide how anyone should grief? Yes someone should take the lead in organizing the funeral etc but it doesn’t mean that that very same person has forfeited their rights to grief because they are the oldest or most organized or seemingly the strongest.
- “What God has done, is just or well or good” In Afrikaans, it’s said much better” wat die Here gedoen het is wel gedaan”. being a Christain I get that, I promise I do, however, I do not want to hear that at this point in time, because basically, you are telling me God removed this person from my life who I loved so dearly and that He is to be blamed. I think that is why a lot of people sometimes lose their relationship with God because they blame God for the loss they even start to hate God. yes for sure there is a reason and a plan and God knows best and all but right now in this time of grief I just want to grief unless God has revealed to you the reason for this loss and then, by all means, share that with me.
- “The person is in a better place” you could be right, but then again, you could be wrong, I mean no one really knows, I get that you are trying to comfort me but this actually leaves me analyzing the person character which is the wrong cos I don’t know that persons’ heart only God does.
- ” You can have another child” if someone had to say this to me the first thing I would do is throat punch the person and then just say how dare you. Do I really have to explain why saying this is not ok at all. under no circumstances, not even the wife saying this to the husband the other way around, if you find yourself wanting to say this, just keep your mouth shut.
- “At least they have lived a long life or didn’t suffer(sudden death)or at least you knew it was coming” all these fall under the shut your mouth or I’ll shut it for you category, nothing can prepare you for a loss even if you knew it coming. they say the last thing to die is hope and that is what people tend to cling on to that the person will get better. it doesn’t matter if the person lived to be 100 years old they will still be missed and grieved for. also how the person who died suddenly may not have suffered but does that mean the people that are left behind will suffer less.
So if you find yourself in a situation where someone you know has lost someone or even a pet, and you don’t know what to say or do try the following to keep you from getting throat punched or slapped into next week.
- “Im so sorry for your loss” – works all the time short , simple and to the point.
- Saying nothing, just being there and Giving a Good hug is such an act of love.
- If you feel you do need to say something try something along the lines of “I wish I had the right words, but please know I am here and I care” or “I don’t know how you feel, but I’m here to help however I can” also Sharing a loving or funny(not embarrassing) memory of the person is always nice at the appropriate time.
- Offering practical help and letting the person know that you actually mean it and not just saying it.
- “You are in my thoughts and prayers”, this is a beautiful act of love and shows you care.
These are just a few things that I came up with, share if you will some that you have heard that made you cringe or the ones that comforted you and made you feel a bit better.
As always these are my Naked Bullets. If you have any; shoot right ahead in the comments section below. I would love to hear from you.
Bang Bang Naked Bullets OUT.