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Grief: What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Say

September 26, 2012

Someone close to you has lost someone. Could be their wife, husband, brother, sister, parent, or close friend – it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t alter the awkwardness you’re feeling about what to do or say.

Writer Sophia Dembling has been on the other end of the equation, having lost her brother, both parents, and several close friends. She has heard various attempts and non-attempts by people to console her, but concludes the following:

The absolutely most unhelpful thing you can say is nothing.

The awkwardness and anxiety you are feeling is also being felt by the other person. Here are some other suggestions she makes in order to do your best in a difficult situation:

Just say, “I’m so sorry” and you have been kind. If you can then share a warm memory of the person, you have scored. And then, if the other person wants to talk (some do, some don’t), all you have to do is listen and make sympathetic noises. Don’t be afraid of grief. It always spins its way out in its own way.

If you’re experiencing grief yourself, she shares the words of a taxi driver which she found particularly true and helpful:

The pain never goes away, but it gets different. It gets bearable.

Sometimes we need help to make it bearable, and when the load gets too heavy to bear, professional counselling can help. Give us a call or contact us through the email form on our website if you’d like to know more about how we can assist.

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