I lost my Mum in November 2017 and my Dad in February 2023, and I can tell you that losing a parent is challenging whether you are close to them or not. I hadn’t even recovered from my Mum’s death when death came back for my Dad. Now, I’m an orphan, and as I wake up every day, the first thing that comes to mind is this.
Most people don’t know how to react when someone close to them loses someone, and I get that. Unfortunately, there is no manual on what to say or do, but it’s best to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and think of what you would and wouldn’t like. People grieving are hurting; the last thing you should do is aggravate that hurt into something else.
Saying sorry is normal when something bad happens to someone, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t say sorry. I’m referring to unnecessary statements that can come off as insensitive, and you can keep to yourself instead of uttering them.
When I lost my Mum, I shut out the world and didn’t care what anyone had to say or do. This time, I let people reach out and send their well wishes. However, I was dismayed by the comments I got. Hence, I decided to write this post to enlighten and advise people.
Here are some of the inappropriate statements that were uttered to me that I think are unnecessary and shouldn’t be said to someone grieving.
I Just Heard The News, Is It True?
The person grieving doesn’t have to be the one to confirm the news in less than twenty-four hours that the incident happened. They are still trying to wrap their head around it and are not ready to discuss it.
Are You Okay?
You already know the person is sad and hurting; of course, they aren’t okay. They are far from okay and you should know this.
Are You Feeling Better Now?
This implies there is a timeline to someone’s grief. Healing takes time, and asking this is insensitive and disrespectful.
How Come You Didn’t Lose Weight?
Not everyone loses weight when they’re going through things. Some people even binge. Also, some people may not be eating and wouldn’t lose weight.
I Hope You’ve Stopped Crying
You cannot ask someone this. Again, there is no timeline for this. They can choose to cry for as long as they want to.
I Hope You Have a Boyfriend. It’s Easier When You Do
A boyfriend is not a shield or replacement for someone who is dead. Regardless of how much you love your partner, you are allowed to feel the loss of someone you will never see alive again.
The Dead Has Gone; Life is For the Living
This is insensitive and disrespectful. The person you say this to knows this already. They don’t need a reminder.
Welcome To The Club
I’m not happy to be in your orphanage club. So don’t welcome me or congratulate me for being a member.
Why Aren’t You Answering My Calls? I’ve Been Calling You
Talking is hard when you’re grieving, and the last thing you want to do is to keep explaining things or pretending to be fine on the phone. So if you call someone and they don’t answer, send a message and move on.
Be Strong/I Hope You’re Being Strong
What if I don’t want to be strong? Why can’t I be broken and be very weak? Why do I have to be strong???
This list isn’t exhaustive. However, these 10 are the ones that irked me most. Please do better when sending condolence messages to someone you know.
I guess people don’t really think things through before they say it. I hope a lot of people read and learn from this.