What not to say to someone who is grieving

Jan. 24, 2011 at 11:53 PM   |   Comments

Myths about Grief
Myths about Grief
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- People often struggle with what to say to someone grieving but a U.S. author on grief says it is often a relief for people to talk about their loss.

"People are very uncomfortable when they try to comfort someone who is grieving. If you say the wrong thing, you can actually make matters worse," Aurora Winter, founder of the Grief Coach Academy and author of "From Heartbreak to Happiness," says in a statement. "Time alone does not heal. The right actions heal. Get support and talk to someone, such as a certified grief coach."

Winter says some things to say at a funeral or wake to comfort people in bereavement are:

-- You're not alone, I'm here.

-- I can't imagine how painful this must be for you.

-- My heart goes out to you.

-- What specifically can I do to support you?

-- Grief is a normal and natural reaction to loss.

However, she recommends not to say:

-- Don't feel bad.

-- Be grateful you had him or her so long.

-- At least you have other children.

-- You're young. You can get another husband/wife/child.

-- It just takes time.

To support someone who is in bereavement, acknowledge their feelings and the situation, listen without fixing and give hope and encouragement, Winter advises. If you are at a loss for words, there is nothing wrong with being authentic and simply stating, "I don't know what to say," Winter says.

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