Supporting Bereaved Families

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It helps for grieving families to feel they are not being judged and to know that there is compassion for the loved one who has died. When you visit and pray with grieving relatives, you should approach this the same way you would approach any bereaved families. Here are some things you can say and do to help:

  • Don’t worry about what to say. Just being there shows you care. Don’t feel you have to have answers. Just be a good listener.
  • Talk about the person who has died. Talk about anything you know about them, such as things they said or did. It helps the grieving person to keep them close.
  • Call often, especially after the first couple of weeks. They may need to talk.
  • Don’t avoid the person when you see them for the first time after the funeral. Go up to them first. Try not to look startled when they mention the person who has died. Let them talk about their loved one as much as they like.
  • Don’t try to ’take their mind off’ the loved one. That is impossible for a long time.
  • Don’t be uncomfortable if you cry and the bereaved person doesn’t. A person can only cry so many tears.
  • Don’t talk about what the person who has died might have been spared by death. Those thoughts bring no comfort.
  • Don’t remind the person of what they still have. At this time, all they think of is what they have lost.
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