Even when we know that death is inevitable, we are seriously hit and devastated at the death of a loved one and sometimes, the pain and feeling of that loss don’t go away and we just live with them.
This year, we have experienced a surge in mortality rate which is due to the current pandemic hit around the world. The fears and uncertainties accompanied by this pandemic have left many with doubts as to continuing with life thus, ending their lives themselves ( this is the wrong turn).
Just last month, coupled with the daily death records from the corona virus cases, the US recorded death cases from racism, Nigeria recorded death cases from rape. Prominent people in the country died and those whom the media did not even know died too and people are grieving everywhere. It is only humane, that we show up for those we really care about who are experiencing a loss or two and be there for them.
Have you had instances where you heard of the loss of a friend’s parent, a colleague’s brother or a neighbor’s child and you sympathize with them but you didn’t show it by reaching out either due to fear of hurting them, or not knowing exactly what to say to them that would make their situation better?
This happened to me on two occasions when I was younger and I didn’t let it repeat itself a third time.
“Never let your fears of saying the wrong things stop you from saying something” – Marie Forleo
The questions now is “how do you comfort those you care about who have experienced a loss and are grieving?”
Here are 4 things you shouldn’t say to someone who is Bereaved when you are consoling them.
1. “I know exactly how you feel“
When people make this statement, what follows after is that they want to share their own “loss story” in a bid to empathize with them. It turns out that the statement now redirects the focus of attention to you instead of the bereaved. A healthy balance is lost when we repeatedly shine the attention back on ourselves.
Research also shows that you cannot know exactly how someone feels in a situation if you have not gone through that exact same thing.
2. “At least…”
If a friend was involved in a car accident and 2 other people (who happened to be their friend and distant relative) lost their lives and then you are there, beside your friend who is grieving for her loss, saying “at least God saved you and you have your life”. What would the bereaved say about her own friend and relative who s/he lost to the accident?
When we make such statement, what we do is trying to force gratitude on them. They just experienced a loss, allow them grieve.
3. “It was her time to go“
Like seriously? It was her time to go?
How do you think a 40 years old woman who lost her 20 years old son to cancer would take that? Or her 10 years old daughter who was knocked down by a careless driver in the neighborhood?
This is not the kind of statement to be made, right? Even if you are a seer, you should not be the one saying it.
4. “Be strong“
There are different stages of grief and as the bereaved experience these stages, you don’t just tell them to stop and be alright. If they need to shed all the tears, offer them your shoulder to do it and stop telling them to be strong.
Someone who is grieving needs all the love and support they can get. You shouldn’t think that they’ve got a lot of people around them so you won’t show up for them. As long as they are your friend, you should be a friend to them cos that’s what friends do, SHOW UP for each other.
Here are 6 things you can do/say to someone who is Bereaved.
1. You can say words like “I’m so sorry for your loss, I wish I had the right words, just know I care“. This way, you don’t sound insensitive.
2. Show up as soon as you can.
When you hear that someone you care for just had a loss, please show up at their place as soon as you can. Don’t think it twice, they need you.
If you can’t be there at the moment, give them a call. If they don’t pick, call those you think might be around them. Send them a text message too. Let them feel you around even if you’re not with them physically.
Veronica Roth said “sometimes, the best way to help someone is just to be near them”.
3. Help them around the house without them asking.
It is possible they don’t have any vibes to do anything in their house or even as for your help. Offer to tidy things out for them. They will appreciate you.
4. Get them food.
As long as they are very comfortable around you, you can decide to make them food when visiting their place or buy fruits for them. You can’t imagine the relieve they will feel cos you just took a concern off their plate.
5. Check up on them at intervals.
Let them know that you care for them and will be with them through their grieving period.
6. If you knew the person they lost, share memories of that person with them.
That way, they are happy that the person’s memory lives on, not only in their heart but in the heart of others.
I know there are more, I leave you to share some what you think one should or shouldn’t do/say to those grieving. This would be helpful to someone reading this.
“Never stop doing little things for others. Sometimes, those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts“