Choose your words wisely

Zululand Observer - Monday - - ZO FEATURE -

At­tend­ing a fu­neral is a won­der­ful way of show­ing one’s sup­port to the be­reaved and pay­ing re­spects to the de­ceased per­son.

How­ever, one’s words of con­do­lences could be very hurt­ful if you don’t choose them care­fully.

Here are five com­mon ex­pres­sions you should never say to some­one griev­ing the death of a loved one:

• ‘I know how you feel’. No, you don’t. Even if you’ve lost some­one in a sim­i­lar man­ner, each one of us ex­pe­ri­ences grief in a unique way. Rather tell them how you felt when you lost your loved one, or sim­ply say, ‘I don’t know what to say, but please know that I’m sorry.’

• ‘He’s in a bet­ter place now’. For the per­son strug­gling with grief, the best place for their de­ceased loved ones is right by their side and among the liv­ing. Rather share your favourite mem­ory of the per­son.

• ‘Don’t take it so hard’ or ‘You must be strong’. It is con­de­scend­ing to tell some­one how to han­dle a per­son’s death. Telling a mourner he or she should not ex­press feel­ings nat­u­rally can se­ri­ously in­ter­fere with a per­son’s nor­mal grief process. In­stead, give a lov­ing hug, hold their hand and share some tears.

• ‘It’s prob­a­bly for the best’. What an aw­ful thing to say to some­one who is deal­ing with the loss of a loved one. No mat­ter the cir­cum­stances lead­ing up to the death, be sen­si­tive and em­pa­thetic. Rather say some­thing like ‘He/she will be missed’.

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