When Someone is Grieving What to Say

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When Someone is Grieving What to Say

We have experienced a lot of death this year.  Some loved ones have died suddenly and others have died after a prolonged illness.  Ugh. Sadness, confusion, anxiety, emptiness…just a few of the many feelings that come with grief and bereavement.

It occurred to me that – just as when illness strikes – many people don’t know what to say or do when someone dies.  So, after having been a hospice nurse for over 10 years and also experiencing the death of friends and family, I’ve come up with a few recommendations for what to do for and say to someone who has experienced death. I hope that this helps, if even just a wee bit.


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  1. Leila Covrigaru says

    Love this. Having recently been through chemo I totally agree with the advice to be specific and just do without affecting nebulous help. Also, I found that people wanted to come to help during chemo and I accepted that help. I had people lined up to fly in for every treatment. Unfortunately for me it was not a good decision. I am a nurse practitioner and I am sure you know that nurses are not good patients. I consistently overdid it when guests were here culminating in fainting in a restaurant on day 3 post chemo after treatment #4. I just didn’t want to be sick so I pushed myself. I would recommend letting the friends visit week 2 or 3 post chemo and keep the actual treatments fairly private with help from family only.

  2. says

    Great post and I 100% agree. I’d like to add one: Don’t say “At least…”, instead say “I love you. Your pain breaks my heart.”