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"It's something you learn to live with."You're still young. A tragic loss—such as of a child or spouse at an early age—is an unbearable loss, but in wanting to help the mourner see that she can be happy again, we may say inappropriate things."I knew a woman who lost her husband, and her mother said, 'You can get married again,'"remembers Kessler I saw a devastated daughter but also a mother trying to help her daughter live the life her husband would have wanted her to live.
Besides, trying to make a friend's loss relatable to something you've gone through takes the focus off of their needs and places it on your experience. For example, you may have truly adored your dog who recently died, but equating that to losing a parent can sting. "We can be in similar situations, but saying 'I understand your loss' gets us in trouble because we could be comparing a big loss with a small one." Kessler says we're better off just saying, "I love you and you're not alone."It's time to put this behind you now (or don't dwell on it).
"On top of that, we're uncomfortable with silence, crying and sharing someone's grief, so we try to fix grief instead." Not only does that approach not work, but choosing the wrong words can cause more pain.
Here's why these nine common statements are particularly hurtful to grievers. People need to fully express their grief before they can heal.
"We have to be careful not to make assumptions, as everyone reacts differently according to their age, gender, personality, culture, value system, past experience with loss and available support," says Tousley.
She suggests skipping clichés like this and instead giving the mourner some space to find her own answers.
Telling someone to pull herself together quickly isn't helpful.
"When my mother died when I was 12, everyone said, 'Be strong.In honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, we're reprinting Lexi's letter here in the hopes that her words can truly resonate with anyone out there who shares her pain. How I wish I could place that baby back in your arms. There are things that pictures and videos can never replace, and having that baby in your arms is at the top of the list. You've been through too much to put on a face, and healing doesn't come when we are living under a facade.The letter is titled I know this is your worst nightmare realized. I know the weight of it all is suffocating, soul crushing, devastating, and earth-shattering in every way possible. On the days when you feel like you could burst from anger and pain, go somewhere alone, cry it out, curse at the sky— there's nothing worse than having to fake it. On the days when the world tells you to 'heal' and 'move on,' friend, healing from child loss doesn't look like healing from an injury.Saying the wrong thing usually comes from wanting to help," explains Kessler.Instead of focusing on the future, help that person celebrate the memory of her departed loved one by sharing a story about that person, he suggests.Loss can feel fresh for a while, so telling a grieving person to just get over it can sound cruel.