A few weeks ago a loved one lost her boyfriend and it has not been easy for her. We are trying as much as we can to be there for her. I can’t be with her all the time cus we are towns apart, but I try to talk to her whenever I can through whatsapp and messenger and once in a while i will call. Unfortunately, I realized I’m always trying to play the shrink whenever I talk to her and sometimes I end up saying the wrong things. At some point she told me I was missing the point and the very same day I made a mental note to stop playing the shrink. I have that problem of playing the shrink all the time, never mind I could do with the same counseling I try to dish to others. Sometimes being a first born makes you want to smother everyone else just because you smother your smaller brothers. You want to play mother to those who are younger than you. See my life 😀 , see your lives y’all firstborns.
Things you should never say to a grieving soul;
- I know what you feel
We have all lost a loved one at some point and one thing I can tell you, never tell someone who have lost a loved one that you understand what they are going through cus trust me, you have no idea. You could have lost your grandma but it was not her grandma; you have no idea the kind of a relationship they had with their grandma. Your relationship with your grandma is or was special; so is this grieving person’s, so don’t try to compare your pain because it is not the same.
- Try and move on- be strong for your kids
Never tell them to move on already; trust me you have no idea how much they are trying to not think about their loss. Telling them to move on already is like telling them to pretend their loved one never existed in the first place. Telling them not to grieve for long is like dictating how they should feel and when they should feel it. Sometimes as much as we want to feel happy, our circumstances do not let us and going with the flow is the only way out of the empty feeling. Telling them to pretend everything is ok for their children is an insult. As if the poor soul is not burdened enough by what they are going through. The children also need to see grief in their surviving parent that is if they are not too young to understand.
Grieving in the very first few days or even months can be compared to having a major surgery like a heart surgery. You are not supposed to move from your surgery bed to running around fixing stuff in the house, preparing kids for school and stuff. You should first focus on yourself to heal and then you can slowly move to doing things the way you used to. Therefore, telling a grieving person to be strong for their child or children is like telling them to stop being selfish in their grief and look after their needs first.
Not mourning enough because you are taking care of others’ emotions will only prolong the pain. Also, telling them that the pain will lessen with time is like putting a timetable for their grief or emotions. So, just let the person mourn at their own pace because hurrying them through the process will only leave them more hurt. Hurrying them through the process is like disregarding their feelings and telling them to find something else to think about cus their loss does not matter a lot.
- So, how about the governor?
This kind of conversation might seem like you are being helpful to the grieving person by not mentioning the sad part. What they really need is someone they can hold with a real conversation; someone not afraid to talk about the sad and tough stuff. They need someone they can sit with; someone who can listen to them without feeling like they’ll be judged. If they will want to talk about the weather and other current affairs matters, be there for them. What you need to understand is that real healing comes after talking about the heavy matters and in this case the loss of their loved one.
- Cherish the memories
The last thing a newly grieved person wants to remember is what they had with their loved one. At this particular time, they are hurting, their mind is spinning on why it happened to them and so many other things; their faith has also been broken. Therefore, remembering old memories will only make their situation worse and creating new memories is what they yearn for but they just cannot.
What you should do:
Walk with them through the process; when they need you to listen, just listen, when they want to hear something from you, choosing your words wisely is paramount. Saying the wrong things will only undo the small milestones they’ve already made; I’ve learnt this all too well.
Encourage the person to mourn their loved because if they skip that step of mourning, coming into terms and learning to live with it, they will never entirely move on. Get them materials to help them cope with the pain; books, videos, audios; just anything to make the process less painful. And for Pete’s sake, just don’t play the shrink; if they needed one, they’d have hired his or her services. So, just listen when they need you to listen and talk when they need you to talk. If only we learnt to listen more and talk less, our lives would be better. Sometimes all we need is a listening ear and not a bickering mouth telling us what to feel and when to feel it. Listen more and talk less; cliché much but makes sense all the darn time