8.3 Supporting the Bereaved

Two people seated on a sofa with Matisse art prints on wall. Woman with clipboard consoles unhappy man by patting his shoulder.
Woman consoling man.

There’s no perfect combination of words that will take away a grieving person’s pain, but there are ways we can support them and show we care (Cruz, 2019). Calling, texting, or showing up face-to-face, for instance, are some of the best things we can do for someone who is grieving (Cruz, 2019). We can also send cards and/or gifts, anticipate their needs, check up on them, and listen with compassion (Grief, n.d; Cruz, 2019). There are, however, things that should be avoided, including: trying to “fix” their grief, not saying the deceased person’s name, making it about us (Cruz, 2019), and/or encouraging them to “move on” (See video below).

Click the links below to learn more about how to support those experiencing loss:

What to Say When Someone Dies

Grief – How to Support the Bereaved

VIDEO: We Don’t “Move on” From Grief. We Move Forward With It

In the following TED talk, writer and podcaster Nora McInerny discusses life and death,  encouraging us to shift how we approach grief.


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On Death and Dying (Original) Copyright © 2022 by Jacqueline Lewis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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