Keep in mind, context, timing and who is saying them is everything!
The Worst Things to Say to Someone in Grief
1. At least she lived a long life, many people die young
2. He is in a better place
3. She brought this on herself
4. There is a reason for everything
5. Aren’t you over him yet, he has been dead for awhile now
6. You can have another child still
7. She was such a good person God wanted her to be with him
8. I know how you feel
9. She did what she came here to do and it was her time to go
10. Be strong
The Best Things to Say to Someone in Grief
1. I am so sorry for your loss.
2. I wish I had the right words, just know I care.
3. I don’t know how you feel, but I am here to help in anyway I can.
4. You and your loved one will be in my thoughts and prayers.
5. My favorite memory of your loved one is…
6. I am always just a phone call away
7. Give a hug instead of saying something
8. We all need help at times like this, I am here for you
9. I am usually up early or late, if you need anything
10. Saying nothing, just be with the person
Many of us have said “The Best” and “The Worst.” We meant no harm, in fact the opposite. We were trying to comfort. A grieving person may say one of the worst ones about themselves and it’s OK. It may make sense for a member of the clergy to say, “He is in a better place” when someone comes to them for guidance. Where as an acquaintance saying it may not feel good.
Here are some of the traits that make the best, “The Best” and the worst, “The Worst”
Traits of the worst ones
• They want to fix the loss
• They are about our discomfort
• They are directive in nature
• They rationalize or try to explain loss
• They may be judgmental
• Not about griever
• May minimize the loss
• Put a timeline on loss
Traits of the Best ones
• Supportive, but not trying to fix it
• About feelings
• Non active, not telling anyone what to do
• Admitting can’t make it better
• Not asking for something or someone to change feelings
• Recognize loss
• Not time limited