I am reposting this with the book excerpt by itself. Having gone through the grief process myself, I wish I had had something like this to pass to well-meaning friends.
I ran across this page in a book that I thought I'd share with you. If your friend is grieving, this a good example of re-framing your approach to him or her. If you are the grieving one, I encourage you to give this to your friends.
What Can I Say to My Grieving Friend?
Instead of: "I know exactly how you feel."
Try: "I can only imagine what you're going through."
Instead of: "At least he doesn't have to suffer anymore."
Try: "He suffered through a lot, didn't he?"
Instead of: "It's God's will."
Try: "One comfort I find is God's promise to never abandon us."
Instead of: "She wouldn't want you to grieve."
Try: "It's hard to say good-bye, isn't it?"
Instead of: "You can't be angry with God."
Try: "God understands even when we're upset."
Instead of: "At least you have other family members." [or any other "at least," for that matter]
Try: "There's no way to replace the one you've lost, is there?"
Instead of: "Don't you think it's time to get on with living your life?"
Try: "Everyone has to grieve in their own way, don't they?"
Instead of: "Don't talk about the funeral–it will only make you sad."
Try: "We can talk about whatever you want."
Instead of: "Time heals all wounds."
Try: "Time will lessen the pain, but you'll always have a part of him/her with you."
Instead of: "You've got to be strong."
Try: "I want you to know you can be yourself around me"
Excerpt from the book Disrupted: Finding God in Illness & Loss by Virgil M. Fry, Houston, TX
[reprinted with permission]
I just lost my sister two weeks ago… people are so well intentioned but lack the skill of comforting words… thanks so much for sharing this…
Having lost a baby a few years ago, this would have been so helpful – sometimes people just don’t know what to say, so they say things that are well-meaning, but just don’t help much. This is beautiful. A great reminder that God walks – and grieves – with us through our pain. Thanks for sharing.
Just now seeing this – a great reminder for us all. I hope you’re doing well!
Instead of: “She wouldn’t want you to grieve.”
This one infuriated me. Of all the people I have known, your sister would understand and simply have hugged me & cried with me, without critique.
A well-needed post, Crys. This season of the year fills me with the most hope & optimism that ‘one day’… no more goodbyes–ever. But it took me years to reach that point.
I recently ran across your blog and I think it’s beautiful. And your pictures are BREATHTAKING!!! I’m going to have to be one of your stalkers…
Thank you for sharing these. I’ve always struggled with ‘appropriate comfort’ and these are sensitive, show caring, and respect for the deceased and the grieving.