Saturday, September 1, 2007

How to Encourage a Friend in Grief

As morbid as it is true, death is certain for all of us. Do you know the right words to say to encourage a friend in grief?

I recently had a grieving young widow of five children tell me, "don't say it will get better with time and don't say, I'm praying for you." She had lost her husband unexpectedly and tragically of a heart attack in January. The wounds were as fresh today as they were eight months ago. In fact, she said it was getting worse, because she felt so alone trying to raise their five children. Even though I am committed to praying for her, I wondered what could I say to her and others to encourage them as they struggle to deal with this painful period in life-called death.

"It was God's will." (First find out what the survivor's religious belief is.)
"Be thankful you have another child." (This lessens the importance of the child who died.)
"I know how you feel." (None of us knows exactly how someone else feels.)
"Time will heal." (Time alone does not heal, though it helps. People need time as well as the grief process.)
"There must have been a reason." (Perhaps not; life is not always fair or reasonable.)

You may have already said some of these words, hoping to comfort another. If so, don't be too hard on yourself, just avoid them next time and learn what is appropriate to say when faced with a grief-stricken friend.

To learn how to say the most comforting encouraging words see How to encourage
Check out the articles 'Helping Others Grieve' and 'How to Encourage a Friend in Grief.'

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