In this installment of our affordable cremation services Toronto tips, we want to help you with what to say when someone passes away.
There are few situations in which people find themselves as tongue-tied as when they are trying to figure out what to say when someone has passes away. Obviously the right thing to do is to offer condolences to the loved ones who are left behind – but what exactly can one say to the bereaved, that won’t come out sounding stilted or condescending, or even hurtful? Despite having the best of intentions, many people feel so stymied that they try to avoid the issue by not saying anything at all.
True, you can show your love and support for a grieving friend by doing something concrete yet non-verbal, like giving them a hug or offering to bring food; but eventually, you will need to offer some words of consolation.
Speak from the Heart
If you really can’t imagine what someone is going through – if they are suffering the horrible loss of a child, for example, and you’re not a parent – it’s okay to say “I can’t imagine the grief you must be feeling right now. I’m here if you want to talk about it”. Everyone deals with grief differently, but you really can’t go wrong with honest words that show your support, because the listeners will see your feelings on your face even if the words aren’t perfect.
Common expressions of sympathy you might have heard all your life are still appropriate today, and include:
- Please accept my condolences
- You are in my prayers
- We are thinking of you during this difficult time
Some people express their thoughts and feelings more eloquently in writing than they do in person; you may wish to leave a longer written message of condolence when signing the guest book. If you think of anything that you didn’t say and wish you had said, you can express this in an online guest book (if there is one), email the family, or send a sympathy card with your message inside.
Don’t be Afraid to talk about the Deceased Person
Some people think that any reference to the person who has passed away is bound to bring up painful memories. However, the grieving family and friends are already thinking of littlesave the deceased, so it’s not as though you will be re-opening a painful subject; the fact that you, too, are thinking fondly of their loved one, and recalling what they used to do or like, will actually be a comfort to most people. The same is true when time passes and certain holidays or anniversaries present themselves; the loved ones haven’t forgotten, so why should you? You can show your support by dropping the family a line such as “Today would have been Gary’s 60th. I have been thinking of you. How are you doing?” Sometimes a deceased person’s Facebook page may still be active, and you can post a loving message there.
What to Avoid Saying when Someone Passes Away
There are a few phrases to avoid saying when someone dies, that can be ineffectual or even do more harm than good.
“Your loved one is in a better place.” After a long illness, it may be true that the deceased’s suffering has come to an end, but you should let the family decide whether they are truly better off or not.
“I know just how you feel.” You may think you do, but you can’t be inside someone’s head and heart. If you have experienced a similar loss, stick with expressing that, and sharing your feelings, rather than making assumptions.
“Let me know if you need anything.” Most people, whether out of politeness or exhaustion, won’t contact you with specific requests – so make a specific offer, such as babysitting the kids so they can attend to the funeral arrangements, or bringing food to help tide the family over. That way, you can be genuinely helpful in a way that the grieving person will find much easier to accept.