Each of our experiences are different from one and another so we never truly understand how the person is feeling. Everyone has there own way of dealing with grief, but one thing we all share is grief and loss in some form. If we all experience it, why is it so hard to talk about it? Why is it such an uncomfortable feeling trying to find the right words? How can we help if we don’t know what to say or do? Talking can be one of the best ways to heal – a way to share memories and while keeping their memory alive.
Things to say
- I wish I had the right words but just know that I care about you.
- I’m thinking of you (and your family).
- It’s ok to feel this way.
- I’m here for you to lean on. I have an open heart and time to listen.
- It’s ok to have bad days because it reminds you how much you love them and the good days remind you they’re right there with you.
- You will never get over it, but you will work through this.
- Grief is love with nowhere to go.
- I’m here for you.
Things to do
- Reassure them that what they are feeling and their reaction(s) are normal.
- Ask them about some of their favourite memories and/or share your favourite memory of their beloved.
- Ask what the experience has been like for them (don’t assume anything because everyone’s grief is different).
- Acknowledge their pain – don’t try to understand their pain just know that they are hurting.
- Reassure them that there are no time limits on their grief.
- Offer some time with your pet as a comfort.
- Ask questions about how they are feeling.
- Listen. Sometimes we need to just listen. Listen to their worries and stories. And listen without judgment.
- Put together a care package for them.
- Be present – check-in and follow up – don’t just tell them that you are there for them – show them that you are there for them.
- Instead of asking what you can do to help, just look around and do things like cooking them meals so they eat well during the grieving process and don’t have to worry about that.
- Only encourage them to be strong for themselves.
- Seek out support services and resources for them. Whether that be a book, movie, support group, or professional care.
- Say their name and share a memory.
- Remember important dates, and make a point of reaching out on those days.
- Be supportive but don’t try to fix how they are feeling.
- Give them a hug (although try to wait to hug them until after they have finished talking as physical touch can often stop those feelings and emotions they are trying to express).
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