“What to Say”

22 03, 2017

Stop Saying “Don’t Give Up.” Please.

By | 2017-03-22T06:53:13-07:00 March 22nd, 2017|General|0 Comments

We say a lot of things to grieving people that under normal circumstances would be fine, hopefully even encouraging, but to people facing a life or death situation, a trauma, shock or loss, these can be the most backward and unhelpful things they could possibly hear. Our discomfort, our desire to bring ease, our inability to fathom what they are going through, and our inherent inability to keep our mouths shut are all common reasons that lead to us saying things we never would have if we'd thought about it. I've talked about this before and doubtless, will talk about it [...]

21 10, 2015

A Crash Course in Listening: 3 Do’s and Don’ts

By | 2015-10-21T22:42:25-07:00 October 21st, 2015|Inspiration, Self-Help|1 Comment

  One of the biggest concerns people have when they encounter a bereaved individual isn't (strangely enough) how the bereaved person is doing, but "what do I say to them?" The secret to "what to say" is simple in theory, but ironic in reality because honestly, "saying something" isn't the key. We feel a lot of pressure to say something but the best thing you can do is to listen with compassion. When you feel the pressure to open your mouth, start with a simple but sincere question, "How are you holding up?" and then ... listen. Listening is THE KEY when it comes to talking to someone who [...]

3 12, 2014

Deleting “Shoulds” from Your Grief Vocabulary

By | 2014-12-03T23:06:09-08:00 December 3rd, 2014|Ceremonies, Inspiration|9 Comments

One of the most problematic phrases in our culture's grief vocabulary are the words, "You shouldn't be ... (fill in the blank with whatever makes them uncomfortable)." In general, our human nature is uneasy around sadness or any deep emotional pain that cannot be comforted. We fight to control or avoid grief in ourselves or others at all costs. We pick up this message subconsciously from the media, movies and even TV shows that don't generally make time to illustrate grief but push on to the next shocking plot-twist or scandal and meticulously edit out the pain. The worst though, [...]

8 10, 2014

How to Talk to Grieving People … Never Saying “At Least…”

By | 2014-10-08T22:31:45-07:00 October 8th, 2014|General|11 Comments

Last month I wrote about the power of responding to people in grief with memories. So many of us don't know what to say to a grieving person and even if we do manage to say something as simple as "I'm so sorry," very often our discomfort makes us feel the need to keep speaking and, if we're not careful, our rambling can lead us into dangerous words. One of the worst things we can say to someone in grief is a phrase that starts with "At least ..." For example, At least he had a long life ... (most [...]

10 09, 2014

“I Remember” || What to Say About 9/11 & Grief

By | 2014-09-10T20:45:50-07:00 September 10th, 2014|Ceremonies|31 Comments

  For a person in grief, there are almost no two sweeter words than, "I remember ..." Those two words begin stories, spark memories, open old joys, and bring feelings back to us with blazing clarity. On a day like today I wondered, what would I write for this mortuary blog? what is there to say still about this infamous, monumental, and mournful day? And the only thing that came back to me was this: I remember. I grieve 9/11 each year. Last week I felt a nausea settle over me as I thought of the day's events and anticipated [...]