How to Speak to a Newly Bereaved Person
How often have you felt awkward, not knowing the right thing to say after someone you know has lost a loved one? Feeling someone else’s pain, especially when we personally relate to their type of loss, can be so uncomfortable that we just want to hide away. But have you ever been on the other side of this experience? Having just experienced the death of someone you love, have your friends disappeared?
Staying present can be the greatest gift we give to someone who is grieving after a loss. It can be what we want or need most when we ourselves have experienced a loss. While the most important part of being present is to listen more than you speak, here are a few suggestions for ways to stay present. Simple things we can say or ask.
-I don’t know what to say, but I do know how to listen.
-I’d love to do something for you if you’ll let me. Would any of these be helpful? Mow your lawn, take your garbage to the dump, watch the kids for an afternoon, do your grocery shopping…
-I know you’re very busy right now. I’m going to call/text you next week and if you can’t talk or don’t feel like talking, I will try again the following week. No pressure, just love.
-Can I bring you a meal?
-Would you like to get a cup of coffee (or sit on your porch and have a cup of coffee)?
Don’t worry so much about finding the perfect thing to say. When we listen with an open heart, when we stop and think before we speak, we truly offer the gift of our caring presence.