Grief and Bereavment

What you need to know about bereavement and grief

It can be tough to know what to say or do when someone you care about is grieving. It’s common to feel helpless, awkward, or unsure.

You may be afraid of intruding, saying the wrong thing, or making the person feel even worse. Or maybe you feel there’s little you can do to make things better.

While you can’t take away the pain of the loss, you can provide much-needed comfort and support.

There are many ways to help a grieving friend or family member, starting with letting the person know you care.

What to say to someone who has lost a loved one

It is common to feel awkward when trying to comfort someone who is grieving. Many people do not know what to say or do. The following are suggestions to use as a guide.

  • Acknowledge the situation. Example: "I heard that your_____ died." Use the word "died" That will show that you are more open to talk about how the person really feels.
  • Express your concern. Example: "I'm sorry to hear that this happened to you." 
  • Be genuine in your communication and don't hide your feelings. Example: "I’m not sure what to say, but I want you to know I care."
  • Offer your support. Example: "Tell me what I can do for you." 
  • Ask how he or she feels, and don't assume you know how the bereaved person feels on any given day.

The death of a loved one is one of life’s most difficult experiences.

The bereaved struggle with many intense and frightening emotions, including depression, anger, and guilt. Often, they feel isolated and alone in their grief.

Having someone to lean on can help them through the grieving process.

Don’t let discomfort prevent you from reaching out to someone who is grieving. Now, more than ever, your support is needed.

You might not know exactly what to say or what to do, but that’s okay. You don’t need to have answers or give advice.

The most important thing you can do for a grieving person is to simply be there. Your support and caring presence will help them cope with the pain and begin to heal.

 

 
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