Life isn’t a bed of roses. We are sometimes interrupted by grief to remind us of life realities and the transience of human life. This could be in form of loss of a loved one, failure in exam or business, heartbreak, robbery attack, sickness etc.
During this period, we try to console the affected persons but in the process, we innocently do more harm than good; thereby making the grieving persons worse especially through the things we say.
   Below are the five common innocently worse things we say/do to grieving persons:
“Stop Crying”
     Perhaps this is the commonest words we say to a person in sorrow. Stop crying? What then should he do? Start laughing?
   Crying is a means of grief expression and tension relief. It’s not healthy to bottle up emotions. Let the grieving person express himself. Let him cry. Offer him a towel instead, and pat him in love and understanding.
     We often say this when the grieving person expresses himself by talking about the pasts, memories, fears, regrets etc. 
    Leave him to express himself. If he stops talking, should he start laughing? Sometimes, the bereaved just wants to talk and he wants you to listen!
“You’ll get over it very soon.”
     Like seriously? This is an insensitive thing to say to a grieving person. You think you’re comforting the him but you’re inciting resentment; because you are not in his shoes, you don’t know how it feels. The best you can do is to help him get over it soon.
“I’ll be there for you, I’ll feel the void”
    Really? Then wait till after the grieving moment. Many times we make empty promises to the aggrieved just to make him feel better and hopeful. Those promises are usually forgotten and not fulfilled afterwards.
    Don’t make unnecessary promises that you won’t fulfil. Do whatever you have in mind and don’t raise the hope of the bereaved.
*Talking nonstop! *
     Most times, we think we are doing the grieving person a favour by being loquacious. But sometimes, he just wants your presence and wants you to listen! Your presence alone could be comforting. Know when to talk and when to be quiet.
     The best time a grieving person needs people is after the grieving moment, in order to get back to life. Unfortunately, that is when people are no where to be found. Everyone returns to their homes and businesses, leaving the bereaved to his/her fate.
     A true consoler is not one who only cries with you during the grief but one who helps you to get back to life. Be one!


  • olubunmi mabel

    Thanks Olu.
    A person who still keeps weeping after weeks of grieving needs to see a counsellor or psychologist for psychotherapy. It's a different thing if such person experiences situational or momentary grief such as when he sees belongings of a dead loved one.
    It's in this part of the world that people don't take psychotherapy and counselling serious. That's why our coping mechanism is kinda pathetic.

  • Olu

    I agree completely with you Mabel. What you wrote is a common practice in the West. The bereaved love to talk and want you to listen. At least, I experienced one recently from a Canadian Granadian lady who just lost her dad. But, my question is what should somebody do to someone who refused to stop crying for many days even weeks? Should patting with love continue with many towels on ground? I remember the story of Jacob who refuses to be console and even said that he will die mourning. Some people are like that. What is the remedy or remedies in this case. More grace my sister.

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