Stupid words

words can hurtThis is a re-blog of something I wrote a while ago. It came up recently and so I thought it needed to be said again.


People can say stupid things. It is amazing to me that they don’t really think about what they are saying. When I ran a grief support group I heard some goodies.


You can have another baby (to someone who just had a miscarriage)

God needed another angel in heaven ( to someone who lost a child)

 Your husband wouldn’t want you to be sad (to a new widow)

I’m sure things are better now (to someone whose wife died a few months ago)

God never gives us more than we can handle (to someone who lost two teenagers in an accident)

Everything will be alright (to someone diagnosed with a fatal illness)

Sometimes when we don’t know what to say we can fall into the trap of saying something stupid or offensive. We may not mean it that way but that is how it comes out. When people are going through tough times they don’t need to hear these kind of answers. They need to hear

Can I bring dinner by tomorrow?

I’m going to a movie tomorrow can I pick you up?

I am so sorry

I will call you soon (only if you really will)

Give a hug

Cry with them

Solid concrete help is what is needed. Only say what you mean. If you can help try to do something specific. Don’t just say “how can I help?” Instead ask if you can pick up children, run an errand, offer a day out. Each individual needs different things. You have to gauge what will help.

compassion-is-a-verbMost importantly offer compassion and love. Nothing is more needed. If you have suffered a similar loss you may understand better what they are going through but don’t assume it will be exactly the same. Just being there is critical. Don’t just say something… something!


9 thoughts on “Stupid words

  1. Some people are so uncomfortable with death and have no idea how to respond to a grieving person. I hope that they just realize how insensitive they come across and it’s not said maliciously. I lost my brother at a young age and I understand what it’s like to grieve. I try to be careful about how I come across and also realize that my experience is not the same as other people’s grieving. I am open about talking about my grief but other people may not be comfortable discussing their pain openly and that is something that has taken me some time to understand. Great post


      1. It’s interesting. I’ve know a few people over the years that would immediately jump to the opposite point of view when I was trying to describe some personal pain – telling me I was wrong or that my perception of events was incorrect. Invalidating my feelings. All I wanted was someone to say, Yes, that’s horrible, I’m sorry you had to go through that. People miss opportunities to be healing all of the time.


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