Grieving A Loss: When Words Become Hurtful, And What To Do About It!


by Cheryl Anderson


Showing someone you care begins with finding the Right Words. . .

Below are 10 verbal red flags from people who were trying to console others. Good intentions gone awry:

l. I understand. I know how you feel.
2. It wasn’t meant to be.
3. They lived a good life, remember that.
4. The same thing happened to me, but as you can see I didn’t die.
5. So, what are you going to do with yourself now they are gone?
6. You must feel as dreadful as I did when I got my divorce.
7. How are you feeling? OR Feeling that way won’t help a thing.
8. It was such a lovely service, and you cried at all the right times.
9. Why isn’t the casket open?
10.So you’re all alone now, right? What a shame.

An unpleasant and unwelcome occurrence of life is Death. Its presence makes us feel uncomfortable like little else can. The most talkative people struggle to speak to someone who is mourning the loss of a loved one. To avoid awkward silence and provide some comfort to the griever, people often resort to the clichés that readily come to mind.

There were two losses in my life that affected me greatly: the stillborn birth of my baby daughter and the passing of my father. Some people with the best intentions trying to console me said some misguided and, frankly, insensitive things. A few of the most painful moments were people staying away, fearing they would say the wrong thing.

Have you ever known what you wanted to say, but just couldn’t figure out how to say it? It’s certainly worth the extra effort to get it right, because the “how” will make the difference in the way your “what” is received.

Some people are never short of words. Personally, I have good days and bad. Yet there are definitely ways to get yourself out of the ditch when it comes to finding the right words and getting started. I find it helpful to “say it out loud” first.

I, too, in the past have said the wrong things and avoided people. Using those experiences, I now have the opportunity to practice mindful compassion instead of blurting out clichés or saying nothing at all.

There are no right words that will take away the pain. What brings comfort to some will not bring comfort to all (Listen to Stacey Geary’s Story). The best you can hope for is to be the source of comfort to those grieving. Focus on the life, rather than the loss. Sometimes just allowing them the freedom to express their grief is the best support we can provide.

Above all, especially after everyone is gone, offer to do basic chores or shopping or bring over a meal, which can certainly prove helpful. Know that you have the power to provide genuine comfort. You can also send regular cards and notes as part of your continued support for at least six months to a year.

There will be situations in our lives when we struggle with saying the right thing or are afraid to say anything fearing you’ll say the wrong thing. So often we are judged in a fleeting instant by what we say. Many times you only have one chance to create your best impression for effective and meaningful communication.

If others have said the wrong things and caused you hurt in the past, now is as good a time as any to forgive them because they meant well, but didn’t know they did not have to say anything and that you would have still gotten the message of their heart.

Keep the faith.

Where are you in your life purpose? Have you experienced so many storms you can’t seem to pick up the pieces? Do you feel as if there is something missing, a hole in your heart? If you are ready to move on, then schedule your 1-hour complimentary coaching session to discuss how (Schedule Here).