1) Please don’t say “I am sorry” or “I know how you feel”
· “I am sorry” makes me feel like I should say that it’s okay and start consoling you. It’s not okay. It won’t be okay for a while and that’s okay.
· “I know how you feel” hurts me. How could you know how I feel? My loss and my loved one are unique and individual, as unique and individual as you and I.
2) Please say their name – Speaking and hearing my loved one’s name is comforting to me. It lets me know you remember him/her. Not saying their name is like avoiding the elephant in the room. Talking about my loved one, sharing stories, and speaking of the death are all ways to help me cope.
3) When I ask “why” and talk about “what if’s”, answers and solutions are not necessarily what I am seeking. This is a way for me to process my grief out loud and start my mourning process. It is not a cue for you to feel you have to answer or fix the situation. Sometimes the best thing you can do is sit with me and be there for moral support while I try to make sense of my loss.
4) Please recognize I am grieving and mourning. My grief is what I feel inside, the roller coaster of emotions. My mourning is how I am expressing my grief on the outside. I may yell and scream, cry, sleep, tell my story over and over. It’s is not only okay for me to feel and express all of these emotions, it’s it necessary.
5) Please remember me and don’t avoid me. Ask me more than once to join you for coffee or the movies. I may decline invites and eventually I will have the strength and energy to join you.
6) Please acknowledge that I am in a time warp as my world has stopped while your world and everyone else’s is still going. I am currently in slow motion. I am grieving as fast as I can working on processing the loss as my heart and head are still disconnected. I ask for patience and understanding.
7) Please don’t judge me. You are not living my journey. I understand you are concerned about how I am sleeping and eating. You may be tired of hearing me blubber my story. You may feel I am not where I am supposed to be on my journey. With kindness be my friend.
8) Please forgive me if I say or do something to hurt you. I am not myself right now. I need patience and understanding. I may be mad or angry and I am saying sorry now in case I shout at you wrongly.
9) Please don’t “SHOULD” on me. Try not to tell me what I should be doing or feeling. Be my friend and don’t try to fix me.
10) Please don’t compare my loss. It hurts and diminishes the significance of my loved one and raw emotional circumstance. My loss is all I can see, hear, feel and breathe right now. I don’t have the capability to think about someone else’s right now.
11) Please don’t say, “Call me if you need anything”. I have little capability to recognize what I need. I have little to no energy to pick up the phone. If you would like to help out bring me a meal or take the kids for an outing so I can get some rest. Send me a card to let me know you are thinking of me. Pick up some groceries and toilet paper. Mow my grass. Come sit with me and be my friend.
12) Please don’t say, “At Least”. At least we had ‘X’ amount of years together? At least he/she is in a better place? At least he/she is out of pain? Saying things like this only hurts more and diminishes the significance of my loved one and the love we shared.