What Grieving People Wish You Knew

JUNE 2, 2017  /  ADINA BAILEY  / 

What Grieving People Wish You Knew

A few months ago, I introduced you to Nancy Guthrie's book, What Grieving People Wish You Knew About What Really Helps (and What Really Hurts).

This book remains a favorite of mine. I'm certain it has more page corners folded over than any other book in our house. Nancy shares many thoughtful gems with readers that will help them comfort a friend who is grieving or that will affirm their own grieving hearts.

If you missed my first post on this book, you can find it here.

The first chapter of the book discusses what to say when you're talking to someone who has faced a loss. As always, I recommend buying and reading this entire book, but I wanted to share a tip from this chapter that I found particularly helpful.

Nancy writes, "Even if you have experienced a very similar loss to that of the person you're talking to, make the choice to diminish your experience and esteem their loss."

Instead of interjecting your own story of loss quickly into the conversation with your friend, listen to her story. The time will come when you might share more about your loss, but when grief is new, your friend needs your support and affirmation. Everyone goes through grief differently, so you will want to learn more about your friend's specific experience in order to support her the best that you can.

Nancy suggests responding in the following ways:

To a widow: "Well I have experienced loss, but I can't imagine how hard it must be to lose your partner and best friend of forty years."

To a parent: "Well I have a sense of what that is like, but I don't know what it's like to lose a grown son in this way," or, "I do remember how much it hurt to lose my children, but today my heart hurts because of your loss."

To people in general: "Well, I've had a taste of what it's like to go through grief. But, of course, I don't presume to know exactly what your grief is like."

Nancy includes a beautiful quote on this topic that can be an encouragement to us as we help our friends during their grief.

"I appreciated anyone who did not minimize my pain. I was grateful for those who made me feel like my loss was great... because it was." ~Allison Hucks, Nashville, TN

What words spoken by friends brought your comfort during your time of grief?

Read other recent articles by Adina Bailey:

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Adina & Maureen
Adina & Maureen

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