Sunday | November 20, 2016

What to Say…after someone you know has experienced a loss.

Randi van Wiltenburg of Butterfly Baby Doula Services

& Jennifer Hammer of Sacred Nest

Our last blog was about what not to say and the reasons why. This one is focused on things that you can say that may comfort someone who is going through loss. Be prepared that no matter what you say, emotions and feelings could strike at any point. It is not always a reflection of you and your words. If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know what to say, it’s better to say nothing, than to stumble with your words and cause hurt no matter how well intended.

As doula’s who have personally experienced loss, we put together a list of suggestions for comforting words of support that helped us through our pain. Remember this is not one size fits all.

  1. Say sorry, you feel for them and what they’re going through. Showing empathy is acknowledging that you are genuinely sorry for what they are experiencing. Don’t forget to include the partners in this, they’re often feeling something too.
  2. Say you are here for them. Knowing that they’re not alone during the intense emotions of grief is comforting.
  3. Say they are loved. It’s simple, straightforward and can be so impactful.
  4. Send them a card; this is something practical that you can do (which we give more ideas of in the next blog).
  5. Say I’m here to listen when you’re ready. It lets them know they have someone who will just sit and hear them, but also lets them have control of when.
  6. Say you’re not alone. Grief can be so lonely and all-consuming. Knowing that you’re not going through it all alone can be enough to keep someone moving through each day.
  7. Say “I don’t know what to say, but I am sorry.”
  8. Acknowledge their loss as they see it. Match their words. If they’re saying baby, say baby. The same applies if they say miscarriage, ectopic, abortion, termination, medical termination, stillbirth ect. Be willing to fully listen, without interrupting, trying to “fix” things.

Whatever you say, meet them where they are and not where you think they should be. Grief, loss and death is unique to each individual.

Remember a big love, is a big loss. There is no timeline for grief; it never really goes away, you just learn to keep moving forward. The pain, may not always feel so intense but it’s still there.  The scars, the wounds, they’re real. You may not see them and you may not understand them, as each person’s journey is exactly that, their own.

Our next blog is going to be on practical things you can DO for someone who is experiencing loss, keep an eye out for it!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *