Death is never an easy subject to talk about, especially when comforting a friend or family member who has lost someone. While it is important to remember that saying something is much better than saying nothing at all, there a few phrases and words to avoid during a time of grief.
“They Did This to Themselves”
While this seems like an extremely harsh thing to say after someone’s passing, don’t forget that it can be implied. Comments such as “I told them they should have gone to the doctor more,” or “I knew they shouldn’t have smoked so much,” and even “What did they expect with such an unhealthy diet,” are not appropriate things to say. They also run the risk of further hurting the person you are trying to comfort.
“Why is (Name) Not Even Emotional”
It is important to remember that not everyone grieves in the same way. While it may be common for tears to be shed at a funeral, it is not how everyone processes sadness. Remember that those who knew the deceased may react differently, whether that is crying or not. It is also not appropriate to comment on the emotional state of a person during this time.
“God has a plan”
While talking of God’s plan after a death may be reassuring for some, it may not be for others. Unless you know the person who is grieving is of deep faith, try to avoid any religious analogies or phrases. While they are well intended, they may not be seen as positive by the person receiving them. Especially if the deceased person has no religious affiliation.
“Think of all the people you still have”
Thinking on the bright side may be a good idea for other occasions, but it is not appropriate after a loss. While reminding a person of all the things they still have in their life might seem like a positive thing to do, it does not take away the impact felt by the loss they are currently experiencing.
“Think of all the time you had together”
While the years the person spent with the deceased were special, the first thing on someone’s mind after a loss is often that it wasn’t close to enough time. That’s why it’s best to avoid using this type of language. It doesn’t help comfort the person the way it’s intended.
“Everything happens for a reason”
After a loss, grief can no longer feel rational. Even for a person who has that type that mindset, it is best to try to avoid making reason out of death. It doesn’t make sense. It’s not fair. So, saying phrases such as “everything happens for a reason” are best to avoid, even when it’s being used to try and comfort someone who is grieving. It can be hard to see in that moment.
When it comes to comforting someone after the loss of a loved one, it is important to not avoid the subject. But, it is also important to remember what is appropriate to say.
If you’re not sure about a particular phrase or sentiment, as a rule of thumb, avoid saying it. Just remember to speak from the heart and put yourself in that other person’s shoes in this time of grief.
Bevis Funeral Home offers additional etiquette and funeral advice by clicking here. If you would like to speak to a Bevis team member, please feel free to give us a call at (850) 385-2193.