To say or not to say


This week we have been reading the book of Job. We had a tragedy at TVCC. We are grappling with Las Vegas. Sunday, we are going to be talking about ways to help others in trouble. Here is a list I have compiled from emails and suggestions and grief advice resources from people on what helped them and what did not help. 

Things NOT to say

Timing and appropriate grief

  1. Time heals all wounds.

  2. It’s time that you got over this.

  3. You have to move on.

  4. It is not good to visit the grave so often.

  5. Why are you still crying?

  6. It’s been a month. Maybe you’re not grieving right.

  7. You need to put this behind you.

  8. I thought you would be more upset.

  9. Are you over her yet? She’s been gone a long time.

  10. Don’t let the children see your sadness.

  11. This too shall pass.

Speaking for God as if you are God

  1. Grief must be teaching you something you needed to learn.

  2. It’s part of God’s plan.

  3. She/he’s in a better place.

  4. It was not meant to be.

  5. He brought this on himself.

  6. Everything happens for a reason.

  7. You know that he cannot get into heaven until you accept his death.

  8. If you separate his ashes, he will never get to heaven.

  9. God wanted him more than you.

  10. Heaven needed another angel.

  11. Everything happens for a reason.

  12. God will never give you more than you can handle.

  13. This must be your fault.

Minimizing the individual's actual pain

  1. I know what you’re feeling.

  2. I understand what you’re going through.

  3. Others have it worse than you.

  4. You must be strong.

  5. You are still young; you can always remarry.

  6. You never really got to know the baby.

  7. At least the other twin lived.

  8. Can I tell you about my surgery/pain/trouble?

  9. It’s going to OK

Speaking for the dead

  1. She wouldn’t want you to be so sad.

  2. She did what she came here to do and it was her time to go.

Faux Helping

  1. Call me if you need anything.

Things That have helped people

  1. Its Ok to grieve and you don’t have to follow any script.

  2. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.

  3. I don’t know why this is happening.

  4. I don’t know what to say.

  5. I can only imagine what you are going through.

  6. I am sorry for your loss/pain.

  7. Can I just sit with you?

  8. I miss them, too.

  9. I love you.

  10. I’d like to come take you to lunch or bring you some food, when would be best for you.

  11. Once when I was hurting someone________________ for me, can I do that for you?

    1. Washed some clothes.

    2. Did the dishes.

    3. Helped me blow off some steam.

    4. Took care of some errands.

    5. Put gas in your car (then wash it as a bonus).

  12. Im praying for you.

  13. Here is a book that has helped me (be very cautious and only do this if it is true. Do not do this if you have not yourself read the book during a real crisis in your own life.)