1. Never ask them, ‘How are you?’, I know you’re concerned about them but seriously, what do you expect them to answer? It’s such an awkward question, don’t you think? Instead, you can say I know you’re going through so much pain, take care of your family and yourself. Let me know if I can be of any help.
2. Some one I know asked me to not write about grief or anything related to my dad’s death on my blog, I know they are concerned about me but writing was the only outlet for me to express my feelings. I can’t tell you how much it has helped me in this grieving journey. Few of them asked me not to keep my dad’s picture in my home because it would remind me of him. Huh? What makes you think I’ll ever forget him? So please don’t give advice/suggestions unless asked because it can be hurtful at times even though your intention is to help.
3. Everyone grieves differently, so try not to play Judge Judy when you meet a grieving person. In my case, I can’t cry in front of people but my mom expresses her grief by crying it out to visitors. Since I din’t cry, it doesn’t mean that I’m brave/strong/fine. Can you believe some people had the audacity to tell me that I’m doing just fine? While I was struggling to survive without my dad, dealing with trauma and anxiety attacks, horrible knots in my stomach, soul crushing memories, people thought I was doing fine because I plastered a smile on my face. Don’t you dare say it to anyone! just so you know, no one is ever fine after losing their loved one.
4. Another thing you shouldn’t say is, ‘Everyone is gonna die, that’s how life works’. Yes, we all know that but when it actually happens we will not just say bye and get over it. We miss them terribly, life seems dark and unhappy and all we need is some love, understanding and positivity. You can instead share a favorite memory of yours about the departed or may be how much you loved or adored them.
5. Some of them got offended because I din’t tell them about my dad’s passing and that they got to know through someone else. So what do you want me to do, broadcast the message to everyone on my list? Please don’t do this to them. If you don’t have anything to say, just hug them and listen to them.
6. We had lots of visitors which really drained our energy but we really appreciate the support. But please avoid questions which is not related to the death or the person who died. Some people even asked us if the house we stayed was our own house or rented. How much was the rent and maintenance, how much rooms and toilets!!!!!! I’m surprised I din’t snap at them at that moment.
7. Since we had loads of visitors and phone calls, there were few times we couldn’t attend/return your calls, please don’t get offended. Please understand the situation, your ego problem can wait. I was taunted by my own loved one that I don’t pick their calls. I’m thankful that you had time to call and check on me but please do understand that I’m either attending a visitor, performing rituals for my father, passing out and sometimes I just can’t talk. I’m sorry.
8. Never look at your watch or clock while you are talking to a grieving person. It hasn’t happened to me but I have noticed people do that to others. As though they have other agenda and they want to get done with this meeting. It really put them off. Even if you spend few minutes let that be helpful for them and not hurtful.
9. A lot of them who visited us had a strong bond with my dad and they expressed their grief by crying and I ended up consoling them which is okay. It’s great to know how much my dad mean to you all and we share the mutual pain. Never hesitate to share what you feel about them, it means a lot to the loved ones.
10. Never say anything mean to a grieving person. ‘You have become fat’, ‘are you pregnant because your tummy looks fat’, ‘your face looks different’,’you seem dull’,’you never call’, ‘why did you cut your hair so short for the sake of donation’. I have heard them all and have cried for days together. So refrain from acknowledging them with all these harsh truth and try to say something positive. Be a light in someone’s dark times. If you can’t, then don’t hurt them.
My intention of post is not to offend anyone, but I hope it helps you to get some perspective so that you can help someone you know or at least hope you don’t hurt them.
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