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Insights from the Behavioral Science Guy: The worst (and best) things to say to someone who is grieving

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  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    July 23, 2014 12:45 p.m.

    Good article.

    Fact is, it is not a just world. People suffering loss and pain know this better than others. As such, attempts to assert that it is a just world are arguments against the real, poignant feelings of those who are grieving. And how is a theological or cosmic debate helpful during these times?

    Early in the process of loss is denial. People suffering are in Ned of validation - validation that the loss is real and their grief is legitimate. Even the comment "I am sorry for your loss" has become cliche and feels like someone trivializing the pain. Simply saying,"I am so, so sorry." might be better.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 23, 2014 11:43 p.m.

    I hate the "God must've needed him/her," and variations we Mormons too often say. It is fine for the grieving person to repeat those platitudes if it gives them comfort, but no one else should say it.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    July 25, 2014 9:00 a.m.

    You say things best by saying nothing at all. All the words in the world don't mean anything, it's what you can do. Actions speak louder than words. It's like my momma said, it's in your heart not your head. Ya got to give and give and give.

  • suebee Owings mIlls, MD
    July 30, 2014 6:40 a.m.

    You hit the nail on the head with your suggestion "don't give them an assignment". When my husband passed away, the folks who provided the most useful support are the ones who just went ahead and did things instead of asking what could be done.