After the loss of a loved one, it's hard for us to know what to say to other people. Often others feel awkward and at a loss for words when they are approaching us, as the newly bereaved. Sometimes, they will even cross the road to avoid us, usually because they are afraid of saying the wrong thing and upsetting us. Many people find it very difficult to hear about loss because they don't know how to deal with it themselves. Those who have a lot of empathy find it particularly difficult because they will feel your pain.
For the bereaved, it is also often easier to avoid people as we don't know how to respond when people ask us how we are feeling or say something to us that we find difficult or confronting. Neither do we wish to make our friends or family feel awkward or embarrassed. It is often a situation where neither side know what to say for the best.
When we greet neighbours, acquaintances and friends in normal circumstances, we have the usual short exchanges - "How are you?", "I'm fine, thank you, doing some shopping for my son's birthday" or similar. After a loss, these normal conversations seem all wrong and loaded with meaning. The last thing you feel like doing is tell them how you really are and if you do, you risk them avoiding you in the future. So how do you navigate these encounters?
When you get these awkward greetings after your loss, try to be patient and tolerant. Remember the person talking to you will be finding it difficult to find the correct words of comfort and get it wrong unintentionally.
They mean well. Take a deep breath and have a few responses in your mind. Keep things simple and contact short, you may say you have a meeting or appointment to go to.
Please do not let your concerns about these encounters prevent you from going out for walks or shopping. It will help your well being to keep busy and get exercise.
About a month after my husband died suddenly I was at a meeting. A friend came up to me and said, "Where is your husband tonight?". Everyone around me who knew, gasped. I took a deep breath and said quietly, "I'm sorry to tell you that he died suddenly". The friend who has asked had such a shocked look that I reached out and hugged her. She and her husband had been away for the last month and she hadn't heard.
I could have cried and run off home, but it would have made the situation worse and upset a lot of people. So take a couple of deep breaths, give a gentle response and get on with life.
"When the going gets tough, the tough get going" comes to mind.
There are many times when we need to unload how we really feel. Save these times for close friends you can trust.
Yes, there will be occasions when you feel tearful and can't stop them flowing. Just say, "sorry" and people understand. They expect you to be upset and tears are good.
We all know the person who when asked "how are you?" will spend an hour telling everyone they meet all their innermost problems. They obviously need help, but an encounter in a shopping mall or the street is not the place. If you find yourself doing that yourself, consider seeing your doctor, your minister, or a counsellor who are in a much better position to help you.
We recommend the experts at Betterhelp who provide grief counseling online, so you have complete privacy and flexibility in the comfort of your own home. See below.
Sales from our pages result in a small commission to us which helps us to continue our work supporting the grieving.
Try a gentle hypnotherapy track to relax the mind and help you cope with your grief. We recommend Hypnosis Downloads which have been created especially for those who are grieving by qualified specialists in medical hypnotherapy.
The Magnolia is one of the earth's oldest plants, with a spectacular flower which dates back 95 million years. What a beautiful specimen to commemorate a life.
These trees are grown by the foremost magnolia nursery in the USA and they will send a variety most suited to the recipient's climate.
The flowers in spring will bring joy to the bereaved and help to heal their heart.
Only available in the USA.
Keep the ashes of your loved one close to your heart with this sterling silver engraved pendant.
Our free downloadable and printable document "The 10 Most Important Things You Can Do To Survive Your Grief And Get On With Life" will help you to be positive day to day.
The 10 points are laid out like a poem on two pretty pages which you can pin on your fridge door to help you every day!
All you have to do to receive this free document is fill in your email address below.
You will also receive our newsletter which we send out from time to time with our newest comforting and helpful information. You can unsubscribe any time you like, and don't worry, your email address is totally safe with us.