Words to Avoid When Comforting the Bereaved

These overly simple, empty phrases minimize the mourner
=s feelings, diminish the importance of the one who died, and take away the person=s right to mourn: 

Give it time.

Keep busy.

Count your blessings.

You must be strong now.

At least she didn=t suffer / he=s not in pain anymore.

It=s time to put this behind you now, to move on, to let go.

S/he lived a good, long life.

Try not to think about it / dwell on it / talk about it.

This will make you stronger.

Be thankful you had him as long as you did.

She wouldn=t want you to be so sad.

Life is for the living.

It was God=s will.

Everything happens for a reason.

God never gives you more than you can handle.

He=s in a better place now.

This is a blessing.

Now you have an angel in heaven.

Time heals all wounds.

I know exactly how you feel.

You=re young; you can have more children.

Be thankful you have another child / other children.

Let me know if you need anything, if there=s anything I can do.

You must not / should not feel that way.

I=m sure you did all you could.

If a cherished pet is lost:

 It was only a dog / cat / bird / goldfish, etc.

You shouldn=t be this upset over an animal.

You didn=t react this way when your relative / friend / neighbor died!

You=ll get over it in time.

You can always get another.


Copyright by Martha M. Tousley, RN, MS, FT, DCC    All rights reserved

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