When a family is grieving the loss of a loved one, they may be going through immeasurable grief the likes of which they've never experience before. In fact, according to Scientific American, this kind of grief can be one of the top stressors in life. The last thing you want to do is add to the stress of someone who is bereaved. Unfortunately, many common platitudes can hurt those whose loved one is deceased.
1. Don't Say That You Know How Someone Is Feeling
It doesn't matter if you lost a loved one from the same exact cause. Never assume that you know what someone is feeling or how a particular loss hits someone. Every relationship is unique, and so is everyone's grieving process.
2. Don't Say That the Deceased Person Is in a Better Place
No matter how strong someone's faith is, the bereaved family are likely not ready to hear well-meaning platitudes about their loved one rejoicing in heaven…without them! It's best to tell the family person stories of how their loved one cared for them, rather than spout things that may be vague and unhelpful.
3. Don't Say That the Person Needs to Be Brave Now
Grief is complicated, and nobody should be reminded that others expect them to put on a brave face and carry on. Let those who were closest with someone express their grief however they want to express it. The funeral is a time when grief is extremely fresh, and people should be allowed the space to feel without judgment.
4. Don't Tell the Person That They Need a Hug
You never know what someone needs when they are grieving. Even someone who enjoys hugs may not want them at this time, and a hug may bring on emotions that they don't want to express. You may offer a hug respectfully, but never assume that someone wants a hug at a funeral unless you know them very well and have frequently hugged them in a variety of circumstances. Even then, it doesn't hurt to ask first.
5. Don't Minimize One's Grief by Telling Them It Will Pass
Perhaps one of the worst things that you can say at a funeral to someone who is feeling immense pain is that it will simply go away. While that may be a helpful phrase in some instances of pain, it is not appropriate to tell someone that at a funeral. The funeral is the time to grieve openly if needed, and it's a time where many emotions may be felt by those who are paying their respects. It may feel like the world is coming to an end for the bereaved, and minimizing their pain will just make the hurt feelings more intense.
Finally, keep in mind that you are there at the funeral to be a support for the bereaved family. While you may be honoring the deceased with your presence, the best way that you can help the person who has passed away is by helping those who were closest to them. So try to think carefully before you choose what to say to someone who is in grief. Try to put yourself in their place and speak from a place of care and concern.
For more information, talk to a professional like Parsippany Funeral Home Inc.