Grief Etiquette

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Finding the right words to say to someone who’s grieving can be challenging. Below are some of my best recommendations of things that you can say [to offer comfort] as well as avoid saying [that could cause even greater grief]:

The main thing is to be honest and sincere. Sometimes all that’s needed is a hug (post COVID-19) or a smile. Ask questions, be ready to really listen to the answers and do not offer solutions – grievers want to be heard not fixed.

Things you can say:

  1. I don’t know what to say…

This is often the best thing to say when there’s really nothing to say.  

  1. What happened?…

Gives them a chance to tell their story, don’t interrupt, the question is for them not you.

  1. I can’t imagine how this has been for you…

This statement might stimulate conversation, be ready to listen.

  1. It’s OK not to be OK…

                        This will help them know that what they’re feeling is natural and normal.  

It also helps them to be honest about their feelings, grieving is a process,  don’t avoid those feelings.  

  1. Ask open questions such as:
      • “I imagine that you feel like”…you’ve been hit by a truck? They may respond with, “well it’s more like my entire world has imploded.” This gives them a chance to say quite unconfrontationally how they really feel.
      • “How have things been with your family and/or friends?” This gives you an idea of the support systems they may have around them to pull from, when needed, or the lack thereof.  
      • “Would you like to tell me about your relationship?” Can be a helpful question by giving them the opportunity to speak about who they’ve lost. This affords them the opportunity to reminisce.
      • “Is there anything that I can do to help?” Asking this question can be very important because they may have a need(s) in a specific area that you’re able to assist them with, it also helps you learn your boundaries.

Things you should not say:

      • I know how you feel.
      • I understand.
      • Give it time.
      • They’re in a better place.
      • At least you had them for (however long).

Things you can do to honor a deceased loved one:

      • It’s OK to laugh… Anytime you laugh, you heal. (Remember them in laughter).
      • Purchase a special candle and place a photo next to it.
      • Plant an annual flower garden or tree in their memory.
      • Plan a balloon release in their favorite color
      • Encourage conversations about memories.

Things you can do, now, to simplify the grieving process:

      • Invest in life insurance
      • Make funeral arrangements in advance.
      • Gather your family and work through issues to better prepare for the unexpected.

What I Offer

Grief Recovery Method Group

The Grief Recovery Method (GRM) is proven effective for any type of loss. GRM is the foremost authority on the topic of grief in which Tonya T is certified.

Helping Children with Loss Support Group

This program is designed to teach parents, and others who work with children, the necessary tools to help children effectively deal with their broken hearts, no matter the loss they are facing.

Pet Loss Support Group

The loss of a pet can be emotionally devastating. Sadly, the impact of the heartbreak of this type of loss is often downplayed or ignored by friends and family.

If you are in trouble and need my help, contact me!

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