What to Say (and Not Say) to Someone Who is Grieving
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The loss of a loved one is one of the most challenging experiences anyone can face, and the process of grieving can be a long and difficult journey.

When someone we care about is going through this process, it can be hard to know what to say or do to offer support.

Here are some tips on what to say (and what not to say) to someone who is grieving, along with some helpful strategies for offering comfort and support during this difficult time.


Female sat on sofa contemplating what to say to grieving friend

1.      Acknowledge the Loss

The first thing to do when offering support to someone who is grieving is to acknowledge the loss.

You could say something like “I’m so sorry for your loss” or “I can’t imagine what you’re going through right now”.

It’s important to show that you’re aware of their situation and that you’re there for them.

2.      Be Available

One of the best things you can do for someone who is grieving is to be available to them.

Offer to spend time with them, listen to them, or help them with practical tasks.

Let them know that they can call you if they need anything or if they just want to talk.

3.      Avoid Cliches

When someone is grieving, they often hear the same cliches over and over again.

Phrases like “everything happens for a reason” or “they’re in a better place now” can be frustrating to hear and may not offer much comfort.

Instead, try to be genuine and specific in your words of comfort.

4.      Validate Their Feelings

Grief is a complex and often overwhelming emotion, and it’s important to validate the feelings of someone who is grieving.

Let them know that it’s okay to feel sad, angry, or confused.

You could say something like “it’s okay to feel whatever you’re feeling right now” or “I’m here for you, no matter what emotions come up”.

5.      Offer Practical Help

In addition to emotional support, practical help can also be valuable to someone who is grieving.

Offer to cook them a meal, take care of their children, or help with other tasks they may be struggling with.

This can help to ease some of the burden they may be feeling.

6.      Don’t Dismiss Their Pain

When someone is grieving, it’s important not to dismiss their pain or try to minimise their loss.

Phrases like “at least they lived a long life” or “it could have been worse” can be hurtful and dismissive.

Instead, try to be empathetic and compassionate.

7.      Share Memories

Sharing memories can be a powerful way to honour the life of someone who has passed away.

Ask the person who is grieving if they would like to share any memories or stories and be willing to listen without judgment.

This can be a healing and comforting experience.

8.      Be Patient

Grief is a process that takes time, and everyone experiences it differently.

Be patient with your loved one as they navigate this journey.

Let them know that you’re there for them, no matter how long it takes.

9.      Be Mindful of Triggers

Certain things can be triggering for someone who is grieving, such as specific dates, locations, or objects.

Be mindful of these triggers and avoid bringing them up if possible.

If you do need to mention something that may be triggering, approach it with sensitivity and care.

10.      Don’t Disappear

While it’s important to give your loved one space to grieve, it’s equally important to let them know that you are there for them.

Grieving can be an isolating experience, and many individuals feel abandoned or forgotten by friends and family members after the initial shock of their loss wears off.

11.      Offer Comforting Words

While it can be difficult to know what to say, offering some comforting words can be a powerful gesture.

Some phrases you could try include:

  • “I’m here for you”
  • “You’re not alone”
  • “I’m sorry you have to go through this”
  • “Take as much time as you need”
  • “I care about you”
  • “Remember that you’re loved”
  • “It’s okay to not be okay”
  • “I can’t imagine what you’re feeling, but I’m here to support you”
  • “I’ll always cherish the memories of your loved one”

12.      Be Authentic

Above all, it’s important to be authentic in your interactions with someone who is grieving.

Don’t try to pretend that you know exactly what they’re going through or offer false reassurances.

Instead, be honest about your own emotions and feelings, and be willing to listen and support them in whatever way they need.

Offering support to someone who is grieving can be challenging, but it’s an incredibly important gesture. By acknowledging their loss, offering practical help, and being patient and authentic, you can help your loved one navigate the difficult journey of grief. Remember that grief is a process, and there is no timeline for healing. Be there for your loved one for as long as it takes and remember that your support can make all the difference.

At C.J. Ball & Son, we understand the difficult journey of grief and the importance of offering support to those who are grieving. When it comes to honouring a lost loved one, our expertise in memorial stonemasonry stretches back to 1929. If you’re looking to leave a meaningful lasting tribute to someone in Barry or surrounding areas of the Vale of Glamorgan, don’t hesitate to reach out by calling 01446 734 607, e-mailing info@cjballmemorials.co.uk or by booking an appointment with our family advisors via our online booking form.

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