I want to dedicate this post to my fellow blogger teanacious who recently lost his father.
He published a post earlier today titled “I know what you’re going through” , airing his frustration with these words from well-meaning people. I can understand that a lot of people just don’t know what to say when someone is grieving such a loss. Maybe I can help here.
For one…when you have lost someone close to you the last thing you want to hear about is someone else’s loss. You are in so much pain and bewilderment at this loss that there is no room for anyone else’s grief, and this is okay.
Secondly…Even if you have lost your own father, or uncle or cousin…there is no way that your feelings and your friend’s are going to be exactly the same. Everyone experiences the loss of a loved one differently. We have no idea what kind of relationship they may or may not have had, and any kind of loss through death is an individual experience.
Thirdly…this “I know what you’re going through” can sometimes come off sounding like a competition, like you are trying to top the other person’s grief. I know it’s not intended, but it can feel that way to the person who is suffering the loss.
So, what do you say to someone who has just lost a dear loved one? “I’m so sorry for your loss” of course is simple, but it can be worded however you wish. It conveys your concern and sympathy. Offer to listen if they want to talk about it. Let them know you are there for them. Give to them all the comfort you can through words, but please, don’t say you understand what they are going through, because you can’t possibly. You and they are different people. Show compassion, concern, love and a willingness to listen.
And to my dear friend teanacious …I am so sorry for your loss and for the pain you are going through. I pray you and your family will find some comfort in the coming days, weeks, and years without your beloved father.