Thursday, August 23, 2012
Things NOT to Say to the Grieving
I still relish in the moments when someone asks me about Emmalee. Even though I may tear up talking about her, it still helps me cope with her loss. It also lets me know that people have not forgotten her. Don't worry about the emotional response. If your up to it ask more questions and just listen. Just don't say some of the phrases below.
One of the phrases I dislike most is, "She is in a better place". The implication is that it is okay that she died. It is similar to saying, "God must have really needed her on the other side". Which is another phrase I have come to abhor. I am sure Emmalee is at peace and happy, so there is no need to tell me what I already know.
Unless you know someone well keep it safe. "I am sorry for your loss", "My condolences", "I love you", "Lets go take a walk", "My thoughts and prayers are with you", "Tell my your favorite memory", and "Here is my number" are safe things to say.
Some other things to avoid saying, "She is your angel now". I would rather her be my daughter still, than my angel.
"You must be strong now". No, It is okay to acknowledge my feelings and express them. Anything that suggest I should push my feelings aside is not helpful.
"She is out of pain now". Yes she is, but it is not the right thing to say.
Bottom line is keep it safe, but if you know the person well you can add to the safe things according to their belief system. Would you say to a grieving Buddhist, "I know she is with God now"? Know what a person believes before you go outside of the safe things to say.
Steve Havertz is the author of "Dragonfly Wings for Emmalee" an inspirational book about the life and death of his daughter Emmalee. At the end of this book he shares his personal and professional experiences with loss and give advice to those who are grieving. He has been a licensed mental health therapist for over 20 years and an excellent speaker and motivator.
at 8:29 PM