What to Say…after someone you know has experienced a loss.
By Randi van Wiltenburg of Butterfly Baby Doula Services and Jennifer Hammer of Sacred Nest.
Our last blog was about what not to say and the reasons why, this one is focused on things that you can say that won’t be as hurtful. Be prepared that no matter what you say emotions and feelings could strike at any point, it’s not always a reflection of you and your words.
If you truly are in a moment and don’t know what to say it’s better to say nothing, then to stumble with your words and cause hurt no matter how well intended.
Without further ado, let’s jump right in. Remember this is not one size fits all.
- Say sorry, you feel for them and what they’re going through. It’s not always from pity, but genuine sorry for what they’re going through. Don’t forget to include the partners in this, they’re often feeling something too.
- Say you are here for them. Knowing that they’re not alone during the intense grief, but knowing someone is there long term can be super beneficial.
- Say they are loved. Fairly straight forward, and can be so impactful.
- Send them a card; this is something you can do (which we give more ideas of in the next blog.)
- Say I’m here to listen when you’re ready. It lets them know they have someone who can just sit and hear them, but also lets them have control of when.
- Say you’re not alone. Grief can be so lonely and all consuming, knowing that you’re not going through it all alone can be enough to keep someone moving through each day.
- Say “I don’t know what to say, but I am sorry.”
- Acknowledge their loss. If they’re saying baby, say baby, if they say miscarriage, ectopic, abortion, termination, medical termination, stillbirth ect..Be willing to fully listen, without interrupting, trying to “fix” things.
- Whatever you say meet them where they are, not where you think they should be. Grief, loss, death is so very individual.
Remember a big love, is a big loss. There is no time line for this; it never goes away you just learn to keep moving forward. The pain, may not always feel so intense but it’s still there. The scars, the wounds, they’re real. You may not see them, you will not understand them as each persons journey is exactly that, they’re own.
Our next blog is going to be on things you can do, keep an eye out for it!!!