One of the cremation services offered in College Park, MD is to provide advice about comforting and supporting families who are grieving over the death of their loved one. No one ever wants to make grief worse because they do or say something that they shouldn’t have said or done.
Most of us are uncomfortable with speaking to bereaved families because we don’t want to cause them any more pain. However, we also tend to say or do things that we think will help or be okay, and they do not or are not.
Here is a quick guide to some things that you can do to avoid making grief worse for your family members and friends when they have lost a love one.
The pain of grief is fresh and it is right at the surface. Because of that, almost everything the grieving person hears gets filtered through the emotions they are experiencing. Therefore, you might say something that, of and by itself, is okay, but its effect on the grieving person is not good and they react in a way that surprises you.
It might surprise you to learn that grief and anger are very close to each other on the emotional spectrum. Therefore, if you say things that come across as trite, callous, rude, disrespectful, or dismissive, the grieving person may lash out at you in anger.
What are some of the things you might say – and have probably heard said to grieving people – that could cause someone who is grieving to experience even more grief, even though that is not what you mean to do?
Platitudes are something that could make someone’s grief worse. Platitudes are expressions that we say without thinking. They roll off our tongues, but they don’t have any real feeling or understanding behind them.
If you offer platitudes to someone who is grieving, they may get the impression that you don’t really care enough about them to feel what they’re feeling and to comfort them through empathy and compassion.
Here are some common examples of platitudes.
“All things work together for good.” The person that you are speaking to does not see the loss of their loved one as good. They do not feel good. They are not going to feel good for a long time and the death of their loved one is never going to be something they view as a good thing. This platitude can appear to dismissive of the pain they are experiencing.
“They are in a better place.” This platitude can make grief worse because it suggests that the person’s loved one was not in the best place they could be when they were alive. That can come across as an insult to the person you are trying to console.
“Everything will be okay.” This platitude may make grief worse because right now, for the person you are speaking to, everything is not okay. They lost somebody they love. That person is gone and that is not okay. This platitude can sound callous, because it can seem as though you do not see that the life of the person you are trying to comfort is currently anything but okay.
“Let me know if you need anything.” This is a common platitude that grieving people hear. While you may genuinely mean it when you say it, the person you are talking to has no idea what they need now or will need in the future.