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  1. #1
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    Default What do you say to someone whose friend or family member passed away?

    In the past two days, there's been two unexpected deaths. I don't know how to console the person whose friend or family member passed away. I start off with, "we're so sorry for your loss" and then silence. One of them just cried and cried and cried. I felt so bad because I didn't know what to say. Since it was over the phone, I couldn't reach out and hug them. What else can I say?

  2. #2
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    Let them know you are there to listen. Really that is what they need. My mom died when I was 5. All my life people have said "I'm so sorry". Nice sentiment, but really what else is there to say. They need to know you are there for them, for what ever THEY need. Everyone's needs are different when handling grief. Some people want to be left alone, some want to talk and have someone listen, but everyone feels better knowing there is someone there that cares for them. I am sure you feel helpless, but offering a shoulder/ear/kind word is the best thing you can do. Don't be afraid to ask them what they need. Having someone hear you cry, just being there, feels better than crying alone. Letting them know you are there, for whatever, helps more than you know.

    It is very stressful not knowing what to do to help those you care about.
    Mama to Bumbee. A VERY busy girl...
    Making me a VERY Mama.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BelleoftheBallFlagstaff View Post
    Let them know you are there to listen. Really that is what they need. My mom died when I was 5. All my life people have said "I'm so sorry". Nice sentiment, but really what else is there to say. They need to know you are there for them, for what ever THEY need. Everyone's needs are different when handling grief. Some people want to be left alone, some want to talk and have someone listen, but everyone feels better knowing there is someone there that cares for them. I am sure you feel helpless, but offering a shoulder/ear/kind word is the best thing you can do. Don't be afraid to ask them what they need. Having someone hear you cry, just being there, feels better than crying alone. Letting them know you are there, for whatever, helps more than you know.

    It is very stressful not knowing what to do to help those you care about.
    absolutely. it should always been about THEM... because everyone is different, there is no predicting what would make them feel better or be meaningful to them. i would not say things to try to make them feel better about the situation, if that makes sense... things that might minimize the pain they're in right now. and i would also avoid "i know/understand how you feel," because you probably don't... grief is such a complicated thing, and again, so different for every person. just do the best you can to communicate that you are available to listen or to help whenever they need you. you might make offers of specific ways to help out, like bringing food or watching their kids (if applicable), etc.

    so tough. so sorry your loved ones are suffering. they are fortunate to have such a loving, caring person in their lives.
    big sister (11/09)
    little brother (1/14)

    "I guess that's the real circle of life. Your parents faked their way through it, you fake your way through it, and hopefully you don't raise a serial killer." --Phil Dunphy, Modern Family

  4. #4
    Twoboos is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Agreeing with being there, however vague that is, LOL!

    You could also bring some type of food if the family is local. Many people do lunch/dinner things, so something different might be welcome, like muffins (bfast or anytime snack) or a fruit arrangement (Edible arrangements come to mind).

    Also, if you have a story about a time you shared with the person, it might be nice to share. "I remember when your mom..." Or "Your daughter was always wonderful at..." these things meant a lot to me and I really felt the impact my parents had made in other people's lives.

    GL, it's very difficult to know how to deal with!

  5. #5
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    As far as words, the most comforting to me was always "I don't know what to say, but I'm here for you, and I'm going to be calling for the next xyz days if that's okay with you." That way I knew they cared, and that they were there if I needed to talk, and that I wouldn't have to pick up the phone and dial.

    The most thoughtful gift I got was a small linen-covered box, with 4 small picture holders on top. The shirt I wore to mom's funeral, mom's favorite shirt, the program-thingies from her funeral, some of the cards, the CD with the song she picked, and a few other things are in that box. Its a box small enough to be out in the open, discreet enought to have out without making people uncomfortable about what could be in the box, and accessable enough for me to go through whenver I need a moment to grieve.
    ~Mimi
    Mama to Lala (2004)
    Bonus-Mom to Big-Kid 1 (1991) and Big-Kid 2 (1992)
    Grammy to Big Eyes (2011), Monkey-boy (2012), and New Baby (2014)

  6. #6
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    found this poem online, written by a grieving mother, it might help. warning: SAD!!

    Please, don't ask me if I'm over it yet
    I'll never get over it
    Please, dont tell me he's in a better place
    He's not here with me
    Please, don't say at least he isn't suffering
    I haven't come to terms with why he had to suffer at all
    Please, don't tell me you know how I feel
    Unless you have lost a child
    Please, don't ask me if I feel better
    Bereavment isn't a condition that clears up
    Please, don't tell me you had him for so many years
    What year would you chose for your child to die?
    Please, don't tell me God never gives more than we can bear
    Please, just say you are sorry
    Please, just say you remember my chld
    Please, just let me talk about my child
    Please mention my child's name
    Please, just let me cry.
    big sister (11/09)
    little brother (1/14)

    "I guess that's the real circle of life. Your parents faked their way through it, you fake your way through it, and hopefully you don't raise a serial killer." --Phil Dunphy, Modern Family

  7. #7
    nov04 is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    After my Dad died last year, the kindest thing ppl did for me was allow me to speak. I appreciated the initial condolences, but when someone just allowed me to have silence or decide how things were going to progress, it was so comforting.

    I wasn't even crying once when relaying to a friend that my father had passed. I was just being very matter-of-fact. She told me we wouldn't be talking about him, she didn't want me upset. It was like a slap in the face. I knew *she* didn't want to be upset, it had nothing to do with being a friend to me. I let go of our friendship that day and have no regrets.

    A friend's dad died late last year too. We'd speak on the phone and she'd just cry sometimes. It's a hard thing to do, but its sometimes all that's needed.

    There's so much pressure these days to get on with one's life. Just being allowed a little time to grieve and allow the feelings to come to the surface is so important. Just allowing your friend to cry was probably one of the kindest things anyone did for her.
    Jos
    dd1 10/2004 prenatal stroke survivor w/ speech delay and dysarthria
    dd2 02/2007 asthma

  8. #8
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    I am sorry for your loss--no better words were ever spoken. I can't tell you how ticked I was to hear that my mom was in a better place, blah blah blah. The other awesome words I got were notes that my mom's colleagues collected at a conference where people wrote their memories of my mom. They are wonderful to have!! So write a note--even if you talk to the person every day. They will want to access it at will.

    Keep calling. In about a month, it will hit really, really hard. Just be there!
    Rebecca, mom to:
    Ben '02
    Cate '05
    Simon--the King Charles cutie
    RIP Andy, the furry first child, 1996-2012

    "The task of any religion is not to tell us who we are entitled to hate but to teach us who we are required to love."

  9. #9
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    infomama is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Those who left the greatest impact in me after my dad passed were those who were there before, during and after his death. Just say you are sorry and then be there...for a long time, be there.
    Be Present

  10. #10
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    We recently had a loss in our family. Words didn't really provided much comfort. the best thing we got was people showing that they were there to support us. my SIL and her bible study group sent us gift cards to local resturants and grocery stores since they figured we wouldn't be up to doing to much cooking.

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