Monday, September 8, 2008

Bereavement

Bereavement- the act of being bereaved: especially the loss of a loved one. Let's talk about how to handle this delicate situation, when this loss has happened to someone you know.


Knowing what to say is a difficult thing, but following the guidelines above gives you a general idea of what to say and what to avoid saying. I think that asking if you can do something specific, or just filling a need without being asked is a good gesture; it is a rare thing that the person grieving will actually call you.

In response to written notes of condolence, there should be a brief note written. It's important to note that the person to whom the note is written (or flowers or gifts are given) does not have to write the note. Delegate that task and have the person writing thank the giver on behalf of the family, that is completely appropriate.

46 comments:

Sheila said...

Your 'Don't Says' & 'Do Says' are all correct! We need more of these websites! I lost my beloved hubby 16+ mos ago., & the Grief Councellors had to be the WORST,
although I understand my Doctor's reason for sending them. But there are those who absolutely have NO idea, not even a clue, how severe such a blow IS! You should be training these folks !!
Very well done indeed, & thankyou!

Elaine Williams said...

Very good advice. Many times one does not know what to say, but sometimes just being present with the bereaved person is a help. elaine

Comeaus said...

How did you know, I was about to email you and ask for some advice on expressing condolences. Thanks for a great post.

Lisa Petrarca said...

VERY good advice! I lost my brother when he was 21 and it was so comforting for my family when meals were brought and basic everyday needs were met. Helps you know that others care!

We also loved hearing about special memories that people had of him that we were not aware of.

Trish said...

It's hard when you have lost a loved one and people around you forget to be tactful in their approach. These are good tips.

BITR Country Girl said...

Great advice, I learned something today that I didn't know! Thanks for this post. Happy SITS day!

Kimmie0270 said...

very useful material!

christyhulsey said...

thank you for the suggestions!

EmBee said...

Hope I won't have to use these suggestions any time soon but I'll be sure to file this away should I ever need it.
:-)

~Jenn Danza~ said...

What a great blog and very useful thread. I've filed these suggestions away too.

Pink Ink said...

Recently felt at a loss for words when someone said their dog died. Very tempted to go for the pat statements. These are great ideas.

Lorie said...

That is a great list. I especially think the one about bringing dinner (or any help) is such a good reminder. People who are mourning are not going to remember to ask for things. Anticipating their needs is such a great blessing to them.

thotlady said...

I found that when my father died, it was so comforting to hear others speak of their relationship with him.

I still miss him so very much.

Came over from SITS.

ElleBee said...

Great post! It's always difficult to know exactly what to say in these situations.

angie said...

Congrats on your SITS feature today. Excellent post.

Brooke said...

My cousin just lost her husband and it is good to know that I did okay! :) Thanks for the info. Congrats on SITS!

Rhea said...

Offering something specific is a GREAT idea.

CanCan said...

These are great tips. When my FIL passed away in 2006, about 80 people asked my MIL at the funeral if there was anything they could do. Of course she was in no state to think of something while she is standing next to her husband's corpse, but she did need her yard mowed and other handyman stuff that never got done until she did it herself (we live in a different country. I feel guilty about not being there to helpe her).

Sarah said...

Very good comments. I can think of a few people who should read this. Thank you for the reminder.

Live.Love.Eat said...

Congratulations on being featured today! This was very noteworthy advice, thank you for sharing!

Jenni said...

I love that your site is dedicated to etiquette. I think it has gotten lost in our society. These guidelines are great. It is a hard situation and knowing what to say makes it all the easier.

Melissa Lester said...

What a wonderful site! I look forward to exploring more of it. Thanks for bringing civility to the blogosphere!

Ali said...

First time visiting your site from SITS - and I LOVE it. Now I know just where to go when I don't know what to say!

~Trish~ said...

Very simply stated but oh so helpful!!!

Cheryl said...

Great advice. It is hard to know what to say in times like those. Thank you,
Cheryl

EmmaP said...

I love this!!! Especially, the part about asking if there's anything that i can do part. I think this applies to almost ANY situation of trouble or grief. I know that when I was going through a very hard time, a certain person would always say, "If there's anything I can do, please let me know." Finally, I asked her to drive me to an appt, cuz it was too much to go it alone. She acted as if I just asked her for her kidney. So, what I sort of get from that is that when people say that, they really mean, "I want you to THINK I care". I know this isn't true in most cases, but...that's how it made me feel. Better yet, was the neighbor who called me from the store, and said, "You could probably use some milk. What else can I get for you?" sorry this is such a long reply, but I really appreciate you bring out these social graces...we can all learn from it! thanks!

Becky said...

Such helpful suggestions!

My husband has cancer so we have heard a lot of the wrong ways to say what they are feeling in their hearts. I know as a whole people just don't know how to phrase that they are rooting for you and hope he can beat almost unbeatable odds. I've just begun understanding the intent can get lost in a few fumbled words.

Michelle said...

This is so important. Especially the "Call me if you need anything." From experience, you really are not sitting around, greiving and thinking of who offered their phone to you so you can call and share your misery. Really. What you need is someone who is there and will just be a pair of ears for you to unload upon. And a good meal is nice, too.

Teri said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. Death is such a difficult time for everyone involved. It's good to have an idea of the proper words to use with friends and family.

I found your site on SITS.

Swirl Girl said...

you are so right about the do's and don'ts -

one never really knows what to say until they hear what other's say when it (sadly) happens to them.

Maren said...

Grief is such a sensitive subject, and often people are at a loss as to what to say or do, often blurting inappropriate things in an effort to say something! As someone who has experienced personal loss, I appreciate your thoughtful insights.

Shannon said...

I struggle with what to say sometimes... thanks for the suggestions.

Dawn@Embracing the Ordinary Life said...

Whew...I'm glad to know I've been saying the right thing...

wendy said...

Ugh...I just found out a co-worker has cancer in her lymph nodes. I am completely at a loss in terms of what to say to her. Some of the comments in your "Do/Don't" can be modified to this situation and am I ever grateful!

Happy SITS day!

Kelli @ writing the waves said...

It is hard to know what to say at such a sensitive time. I'm sure this post will be helpful to a lot of people.

Becky :) said...

It's so good to know the right and wrong things to say because I know that it can be hard at the moment not to say one of those under the "Don't Say".

Congrats on your SITS Day!!!

Nessa said...

Thank you so much for this post! I never know what to say, so I really appreciate the suggestions.

Happy SITS day!

nikkicrumpet said...

great suggestions...it always makes me feel so inept not knowing what the best thing to say would be.

Debbie Y. said...

Sometimes bereavement does leave us at a loss of what to say to the one who has lost someone. It is an awkward situation most times, so thanks for the alternative suggestions.

Happy SITS day.

mrsbear said...

Good to know. So often it's hard to figure out what's appropriate, especially if you're not familiar with bereavement. I always feel at a loss.

Dustybug said...

Great tips. I'm always at a loss when it comes to these kinds of things, and I feel as if I will say the one thing that the mourner most certainly does NOT want to hear.

Wep said...

VERY true. My personal hatred when my dad died was the "He's in a better place" At 16 I could think of no better place than with me.

Michelle said...

Very sweet and good advice. Those are some phrases I avoid, and it's good to have some others to toss out when needed (that came off too flip; I didn't mean it that way) without causing more pain.

Karen said...

Great advice !!!

Happy SITS day...

Tabitha Blue said...

Great info! So glad I came by from SITS

Threeundertwo said...

So true. After I had my first miscarriage people would say awful things like "the baby was probably deformed anyway, it's better this way." What insensitive idiocy.

When my brother committed suicide, one person said oh-so-unhelpfully "maybe he was pushed off that bridge."

Sore subject with me. If you don't know what to say, say "I'm so sorry."

 
arrow-up.gif