Grief Clichés

What Not to Say to Someone Grieving

In a society where grief isn't discussed... it's not surprising we say some grief clichés that may hurt the griever more than help. I think for the most part though, people want to be there, support a griever, and help. Sometimes... they think the following is helping. This is an opinion piece I call, "what not to say to someone grieving."

What not to say to someone grieving- they wouldn't want you to be sad.

"They wouldn't want you to be sad."

I mean...who wants someone to be sad? But it's normal to be sad when someone you love passes away. It's normal to grieve and mourn a loss. Being sad is an acceptable response to death... because really, what they would want is what I want. They'd want what I want. They'd want to be here. They'd want to be laughing, to be creating memories, reflecting on the past, but dreaming of the future. So, telling someone grieving not to be sad... really isn't helpful. We already know our loved ones would love to see us smile... but they aren't here to see us smile. And that is sad.

Things NOT to say to Someone Grieving

  • This will make you a better person.

  • They wouldn't want you to be sad.

  • Oh, you're still not over it?

  • Everything happens for a reason.

  • Time heals all wounds.

  • Just try not to think about it.

  • I'm sorry for your loss, but it was just a pet.

  • At least....

  • You have to keep your mind busy.

  • Try to find the silver lining, what is this teaching you?

  • The Lord works in mysterious ways. He only gives you as much as you can handle. He needed one more angel.

  • They're in a better place.

  • You have to be strong for...

  • Someone always has it worse.

Grief invalidated quotes

Why? Well it can invalidate what a griever is feeling.

I'm sorry if your grief has been invalidated. And sadly it seems to happen to most grievers. Often, I think the intention was to be helpful, but instead it makes your grief feel ignored, belittled, minimized or forgotten. To be fair, there aren't really many great things to say... because no words will magically make grief go away. What would help a griever feel validated? Just listen. If griever opens up... be there for them. And mean it. You don't need to fill the space with grief clichés.

I'm sorry if your grief has been invalidated.

More examples of how things people say may invalidate grief.

  • Didn't they pass away awhile go?

  • At least they lived a long life.

  • But you weren't family.

  • You need to smile more.

  • You're going to be fine.

  • At least you still have ______.