Are You Saying the Right Things to Grievers?
+WHAT TO SAY
-WHAT NOT TO SAY
Taken from the book by David Knapp, I Didn’t Know What to Say: Being a Better Friend
to Those Who Experience Loss. For a better understanding as to why the comments
in black are more helpful than the statements in red, get the entire book at www.ididntknowwhattosay.com/book
+Your loss is a very difficult thing to go through, I am sure.
-Get a grip!
+I will always remember him/her.
-I don’t want to talk about the dead. Let’s talk about the living.
+Do you need someone to go with you to choose a casket or marker?
-I know what you are going through. I lost a kitten once.
+Can we go for a walk on Sunday afternoon and chat?
-You need to take your mind totally off your pain.
+Tell me something special about your early days with him/her.
-You should be thankful he/she is out of pain.
+It’s so good you have the freedom to cry/express your feelings.
-You need to get over this.
+No, you are not crazy. You are grieving and it is okay. This will pass.
-I know EXACTLY how you feel.
+I realize this must be hard for you.
-Call if you ever need anything.
+So, how are you feeling today?
-Let me tell you what you need to do.
+I understand that you feel the way you do…and it is okay.
-You can’t bring him/her back. God is in control.
+Can I help you find others who have had a similar loss?
-This happened because God had something/someone better for you.
+Can you join our group for dinner this Friday?
-Call me sometime.
+His/her memories are a legacy of love.
-You need to let go of him/her so you can start living again.
+Are you up for a chat now or next week?
-You look great. You must be over it.
+Thanks for having the freedom to talk to me about your feelings right now.
-How are you holding up?
+Here is a favorite memory I have of him/her.
-So now you are all alone. What a shame.
+You made the right decisions surrounding his/her death.
-At least he/she is not a vegetable.
+Can I call you on an anniversary that is important to you?
-You need to get all his belongings out of the house as soon as possible.
+Can I come by and get your grocery list on Friday?
-You are not making sense. Snap out of it.
+Can I come by and help clean on Tuesday?
-How does it feel to have survived his/her death?
-You should be thankful it wasn’t worse.
+Tell me about your child/loved one. What was he/she like?
-Your child is in a better place. God needed another angel.
+I miss him/her too.
-You should be happy for the time you had with him/her.
+You did all you could do at the time.
-How are you ever going to forgive yourself?
+I am praying for you and your family.
-Well, at least you won’t have to potty train that child.
+I have no idea of the depth of your pain but I am here for you.
-You can always have/adopt other children.
-You are lucky to at least have other children.
+His/her memory will live on in my heart.
-His/her time was up. His/her death was meant to be.
+Can I take the kids to the zoo on Saturday?
-(say nothing and avoid all contact)
+I have been remembering you a lot lately and I love you.
-You are lucky to have had them in your life for as long as you did.
+I know he/she loved/relied on you a lot.
-At least they had a good life.
+He/she knew how much you loved him/her.
-I understand your pain. I lost someone once.
-You need to only remember the good and forget all the bad.
+Your hurt must be big right now.
-Grandpa is sleeping.
+(say nothing but give a hug)
-Keep your happy face on.
+What was it like when…?
-Life must go on.
+I love you and am proud of you.
-Now you are the head/leader of your house.
+I loved him/her too and will miss him/her.
-God needed him/her in heaven.
+Can I help you write a letter about your loss/grief?
-You must not speak ill of the dead.
-You are the man (woman) of the house now…buck up.
+I wish I had the right words. I just want you to know I care.
-I don’t want to hear details. I just want you better.
+Can I come by Wednesday evening to visit?
-Wow. You look sad/awful.
+I can’t take away your pain but I can be a friend.
-You need to keep a stiff upper lip.
+Have things happened to ease your pain?
-I could NEVER go through what you are right now.
+What have you done to deal with your grief/loss?
-Now that she/he is dead, you should get a pet.
+I was shocked to hear of your loss. I’m a friend who cares.
-You must feel as bad as I did when…..
+I am so sorry for your loss.
-Just stay busy and you will get by.
+Tell me about him/her.
-You must stop crying. You might upset someone.
+I feel so sad for you.
-You must be strong for others.
+What is something I can do for you this week?
-He/she must have brought this upon himself/herself.
+Your heart break must go deep.
-You need to be alone when you grieve.
+It breaks my heart to see you in such pain.
-You need to stop feeling bad/crying.
+I’m sure you cherish your time with him/her.
-Don’t burden others with your feelings.
+How have you been feeling this week?
-He/she is with God now.
+Is today a better day for you?
-All things must pass. Time will heal.
+I’m not sure what to say but I want you to know I care.
-You will find another to replace them.
+I can’t fix your hurts but I can be here for you.
-You can’t fall apart.
+Can I call you to chat on Saturday evening?
-“What is done, is done,” I always say.
+I am so sorry this is happening to you.
-This is a blessing in disguise.
+We have missed you lately.
-I have had a bigger loss then you so I know it is not as bad as it could be.
+May God bless you and give you strength and comfort.
-If you had more faith, he/she would not have died.
+What do you need most today?
-God does not give us more than we can handle.
+What would you like to say to him/her right now?
-You need to forget about him/her and move on.
+You must be hurting deeply.
-He/she is in a better place now.
+God mourns with those who mourn.
-It is too soon to face your grief.