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5 things to say when a loved one dies…

Written by Trista Koch

As sure as the sun rises in the east, people will say some really hurtful and down-right stupid things in the wake of your loss. Sometimes, even the people that you would least expect to have such lack of compassion are guilty: doctors, counselors, others who have been through a similar loss. Here are a few of the “Stupid things people say” that have been shared with me. I also included a list of “All I needed people to say or recognize.”

Top 5 Stupid things People Say:

  1. “Thank God you have another child.”
  2. “She’s in a better place than we are.”
  3. “You need to get on some medication.” (nerve, sleeping, etc.)
  4. “You are young, you can still [remarry or have another child].”
  5. “It’s time to move on.”

Top 5 things you needed people to say or recognize:

  1. “I can’t relate to that, but I am here for you.”
  2. “I don’t know what to say, but I will listen.”
  3. You are still my friend. In fact, I need you more than ever. I may not be able to devote the same time and energy to our relationship during my grieving time, but you are still important to me. Please do not give up on us.
  4. You aren’t going to upset me by mentioning my loved ones name. I welcome you to bring him/her up and tell me a story.
  5. Grief does not have a time keeper. It is different for everyone and may take months to years depending on the support system the person has in place. 

Many of us have heard some of the good, the bad, and the just plain ugly responses to those dealing with loss. Share what has been helpful and not so helpful below in the comments. 

feature image from Inscribed Photography

About the author

Trista Koch

After the death of both her grandparents and see how losing loved ones can tear even the closest knit families apart, Trista was determined to take the awkward out of grief and death. She left her job as a Respiratory Therapist and enrolled in the Grief Coach Academy. There, she became equipped with powerful and proven tools to help others in their grieving journey. She continues her mastery study there to coach people From Heartbreak to Happiness®.
Trista currently raises her son and two daughters in south central Nebraska along with her amazingly supportive husband. Through her grief coaching practice, Trista is busting through the myth that grieving “just takes time” with her individual and family coaching and other services! Her mission as a grief coach is to support, encourage, and coach adults with terminally ill parents to connect to hope, peace of mind, and family.

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