HomeAbout LisaLisa's CalendarLisa's Contact InfoPresentation TitlesPast PresentationsTestimonialsStudent TestimonialsSchool ProgramParent ProgramsFeesCrisis HotlinesNational Support GroupsTraumatic Loss CoalitionsProgram FlyersQuotes on GriefGrief Videos with MilesGrief Speaks BlogBlog Page 2Photo GallerySchools Impacted by DeathWhat to Say to a GrieverWhat Not to Say to a GrieverAdoption IssuesAges and StagesAl-Anon AlateenAssisted Living ProgramsBullyingWhen a Parent Has CancerChildren at Funerals?Children Coping with a DeathChildren of AddictionCommon Signs of GriefComplicated GriefCultures and GriefCyberbullyingAdolescent Dating ViolenceDeath: Car CrashesDeath of a childDeath of a Teen FriendDeploymentDepression SymptomsDepression in Children/TeensDivorceDomestic ViolenceDomestic ViolenceEating DisordersEmpathic ListeningExplaining Death to ChildrenFacts/StatisticsFears and Worries in KidsA Friend is DyingGamblingGLBTGLBTQ for TeensWhat is Grief?Guilt and RegretsHIV InformationHIV MedicinesHIV/AIDS support groupsHIV Testing in NJImmigration and LossIncarcerationInfertilityJob Loss and GriefListeningLooking for SupportLossMen and GriefMental Health SupportMiscarriage or Stillbirth LossWhat is Mourning?Murder or HomicidePTSDSchool FightsScream Box: How to MakeSelf Injurious BehaviorSexual AbuseSibling LossSpecial Needs & Children 1Special Needs & Children 2What Parents Can DoSpeaking to Very Ill PeopleStudents Share ConcernsSuicide PreventionAfter a Suicide AttemptHealing After a Suicide (School)Suicide Survivors SupportAfter a parent's suicide: returning to schoolCollege, Grief and SuicideSupporting a GrieverTalking to Grieving ChildrenTeen GriefTeen ResourcesBooks for TeensTeens Grieving in SchoolTraumatic and Sudden LossTraumatized ChildrenViolent DeathVirtual Book Tour of Always My BrotherWhat Does That Mean? Explaining grief words to childrenWhen a Child is Dying (guidelines)When a Parent DiesWhat's NewBooks Change LivesHelpful ProductsAsk LisaBooks for ChildrenLisa's Favorite BooksBooks for AdultsAdditional ResourcesSpiritual AssessmentThe Mayonnaise JarGrief Speaks 4 TeensGrief Speaks 4 Teens CardsNewsletter Articles
It can be difficult to know what to say during the first contact with someone who has just suffered a loss. Many avoid the griever because they lack the right words. There are no perfect words. Grievers are often appreciative for the quieter people who genuinely care and want to be with them. Asking a grieving person how they are will usually get an "I'm fine" response. We are all pretty good at masking our feelings. Remember too not to "affirm" someone who is "doing so well" or "taking this so well". This often locks a person in to feeling that when they "fall apart" a few minutes, hours or weeks later, they will be letting those around them down.
Your presence makes a difference. Sometimes just a hug or hand squeeze can express what you are feeling better than words. Most grievers remember the people who stayed near them on the first day or so more than anyone's words. Often the best thing to do is to "show up, shut up and listen with your heart". Grievers often need to just have us present and willing to simply listen. It is okay to ask, "how did you hear" or "what happened?". Then be prepared to just listen. It is in the telling of our stories that the healing begins. Broken hearts are truly open hearts.
Show compassion. Compassion means opening your heart to another person and being truly present with the griever. Set aside your own worries and needs and be available to him or her. Often this means saying little or nothing at all.
These Are Some Helpful Words That Grievers Have Shared with Me:
I am sorry.
I don't know what to say. There are no words.
I am here for you.
I can listen if you like.
I know I can't fix anything for you but I want you to know I care.
Take all the time you need.
This must be very hard for you.
What's the hardest part?
How are you doing with all of this?
I'll call you tomorrow. (but only if you will)
I don't know why this happened either.
Yes, it isn't fair.
Follow on Twitter "Like" on Facebook