As human beings, we often struggle to cope when confronted with other people’s pain. We try to fix it. We try to make it go away. We try to control it.
Something I’ve heard a lot is people saying “stay strong”. One of the guests on @bereavementroom
podcast lost her older brother suddenly. They were very close. She was the youngest of three children and much younger than her siblings. Despite this, those around her told her, “You have to be strong for” and would mention a family member.
People tell those who have just lost someone that “It’ll be okay”. Really? How exactly? Will their loved one come back to life? “It’s okay. Don’t cry” is another one that’s commonly used.
All of these phrases, while well meaning, are ultimately for our own purpose rather than to help or comfort the person who is grieving. These phrases silence the bereaved. They prevent them from being allowed to grieve because to do so would mean that they’re not being strong.
Standing in the way of someone’s grief, even unintentionally, is dangerous. We grieve because our minds need to process our loss and the huge change to our lives. We grieve as a way to expel our pain. We grieve as a way to understand. We grieve to heal.
Next time you meet someone who is grieving, don’t tell them how to be or that it’ll be okay. If you know them well, tell them you’re there for them. Bring them food. Clean for them. Do whatever you can to lighten the load they’re carrying. If you don’t know them well, don’t tell them you’re there for them. It’s empty. Tell them you’re sorry for their loss and leave it at that. Overextending your relationship because someone is grieving is disingenuous.
Just some thoughts.