7 things you should avoid doing when someone has died
death is a tough thing to tackle. there's never really a "right time" to accept that we've lost someone close to us and we find ourselves more often that not, wrapped up on an emotional rollercoaster. some days are better than others. some moments we'll be good while other moments we are a complete mess. however, we eventually heal and come to grips with our new reality of having to live life with someone who was once with us in the natural realm. however, sometimes the grieving process can be made more difficult by our friends and associates whose intent is to help us. it's not that their hearts aren't in the right place; but their efforts can sometimes have adverse affects. here's some things i think we should keep in mind when looking to console our friends and family.
7). don't tell the family you'll be praying for them and their strength (and not do it).
this is probably one of the most common responses when we read about (or hear about) someone losing someone close to them. however, i'm willing to bet that majority of people who say this don't actually go and pray after they've put it out in the universe that they would. and sure, i get it. sometimes, you honestly forget. we had the intentions of doing it when we said it, but we never got around to actually doing it. while some people may classify this as something that's not a big deal (because no one will ever really know), i think it is. simply put, stop saying you're gonna do something and you don't follow through. nobody is forcing you to do something that you aren't committed to doing, except you, ya know? and to be honest, prayer doesn't always have to be something you announce, it can be something that you simply do.
6). don't try and make it seem like you and the deceased were closer than you actually were.
i don't know about you, but it really rubs me the wrong way when i see people "doing the most" on social media about people who have recently transitioned that they really weren't even that close to. now don't get me wrong, i think it's perfectly fine for people to respectfully leave their condolences to the family and so forth. however, i'm talking about people who suffer from a fear of missing out. regardless of what it is...you just wanna feel included, even in grief. when you see people mourning the loss of someone, you feel inclined to make yourself mourn as well...even though you low key don't care. stop doing that. forreal. people can see right through your insincerity and obsession to be included.
5). avoid the phrase, "if you need anything...call me", if you don't honestly intend to submit yourself wholeheartedly if they actually took you up on the offer.
would you want someone to say "i love you" and they didn't mean it? would you appreciate it if someone told you they'd pick you up from work and you had to call an uber because they never showed up? no. so, don't tell someone who's grieving if they need anything to call you. and you know how we do, we not only offer ourselves to the grieving family, we put emphasis on an-y-thing. but if they call you at 3 a.m. because they couldn't sleep and they need someone to talk to, will you answer? if they call you and tell you they are hungry and don't have any money, will you stop what you are doing to get them some food? chances are, you probably wouldn't. and if you did, it would have to be on your time (when you got off work, when you got up from your nap, etc). but, you can't be a conditional supporter whose word only stands true when it's convenient for you. ain't nobody got time for that. again, stop saying things ya don't mean and you won't have this problem.
4). remember that grammar and mechanics still matter, even in grief.
this may seem like a petty one, but i promise you it's coming from a good place. don't send me a text message saying, "i'm sorry for your lost." the correct way to say/type it would be "i'm sorry for your loss." wanna know why? because one is a noun and one is a verb. so, you'd use "lost" to say something like "joe black lost his keys"...it's a verb, meaning it answers the question of "what did he or she do?" so in this case, what did joe black do? joe black lost his keys. get it? now, with "loss" you'd use that to say something like, "joe black suffered an unexpected loss with the death of his wife", or "sorry for your loss, joe black." now, i understand that this may not be as simple to some as it is to others, but i legit tried to explain it as best i could. moral of the story is, friends don't let friends comment on their social media pages saying "lost" when they should be using "loss."
3). avoid saying things like, "i know how you feel."
"how sway? how do you know how i feel? how could you possibly imagine what i'm going through at this exact moment?" bottom line is, you can't. don't get me wrong, i see why people say it. it's like "oh, their grandpa just died, mine died too. i know how they feel." but, you really don't, though. you can't begin to imagine how they feel. people respond to things in different ways. that's why a guy and a girl can go to the same horror film and have two completely different experiences, because no two people are the same, ya know? i think a more appropriate reaction would be something like, "i've also experienced the loss of a grandparent. while i can't imagine how you may be feeling, here are some things that helped me when i was going through." i can't knock anyone that says something like that to me. you know why? because they didn't try to relate to my experience by saying they know how i feel. i mean, how can you know how i feel when i'm trying to figure out how i feel myself? you may be trying to help, but you may end up annoying someone in the process.
2). don't opt into making the family any food when you know you can't cook.
this may seem like an obvious one, but it's really not. emotions can sometimes get high when someone dies. not just for the family, but for all of those who were influenced by that person's life, ya know? however, don't let your emotions impair your judgment. if you know you can't cook, don't take it upon yourself to make some food to drop off to the family because if it's terrible (which it probably will be because you can't cook), it's gonna get dropped in the trash where it most likely belongs. i get it. preparing food yourself seems more sentimental to some because it "comes from the heart" or whatever, but you can be just as impactful with dropping off food that's catered. you get the best of both worlds. you've dropped them off a meal so they won't have to worry about cooking and you've also spared them the hassle of having to possibly throw your food away after you've left...win/win for everyone.
1). avoid cliché christian sayings that don't actually have a scripture foundation.
you ever had someone say something like "God needed another angel in his choir so he called home his best singer", "God needed another rose in his garden", or "they found a pair of wings in Heaven that needed to be claimed"? can't speak for everyone, but this is annoying. i know some people may resort to this (and actually prefer when people say things like this to them) because it helps them to reason with why the death occurred in the first place. however, there's no scripture base here. when i'm grieving, i don't need people trying to pour into me things that aren't aligned with what the word of God says. now isn't the time for you to just "wing it" and say whatever you feel sounds good. your words have to have purpose behind them (especially during times of bereavement). so, choose your words wisely folks. and if you don't have the words to say, a card is always a great alternative.