What Can I Say to a Person in Mourning?

Losing a loved one can be a painful and difficult experience, with mourning bringing on intense feelings of loneliness and vulnerability. So how can you reach out to someone who is in mourning?

Sometimes all that is needed is a simple hug or a shoulder to cry on. Other times, they may just want to be left alone. People can find it hard to ask for help at the best of times, so asking whilst trying to deal with the loss of a loved one can be especially hard.

Here are some ways you can help:

Talk about the deceased – People refrain from talking about the recently deceased as a way to avoid causing more hurt, although this can sometimes have a detrimental effect on the mourning process. When a person is grieving, the deceased person is often all they are thinking about. Ask them to share some stories which involve the deceased. Listen, engage and ask questions about them.

Food – During the mourning process people spend a lot of time thinking about the person they have lost which means they may lose sight of looking after themselves. Something you can do is make sure they are eating properly. Cooking them a homemade meal shows them that you care, and are thinking about them as they go through this difficult period.

Listen – Ask them “How are you?”, then listen carefully to their response. If they respond with a simple “I’m fine”, bear in mind that they may not be fine. Fine is sometimes used as an acronym for Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional, all emotions very much related to the mourning process. You could signpost them to organisations that deal specifically with grieving (we have listed a couple below for you).

Think practical and be reliable – A person may stop functioning completely during the early stages of mourning so you may be able to do something practical for them. Do they need some shopping? Do they need the dog walking? Do they need a lift somewhere?

Being reliable is essential, most times people might say “give me a call if you need anything”, which is good except for the fact that the person mourning probably won’t call. They may not be able to see past their current pain and anguish. They may feel like they don’t want to bother you.

A more positive thing to say would be, “I’ll take the dog out in the morning for the next few weeks”, then following through on your words. This may seem like a small thing, but it releases them from some responsibilities which can be a big thing in distressing times.

After a few months have passed, mention the deceased  in everyday conversation; it shows you have not forgotten about them. This is a big show of support to the person who mourned them, and they will be grateful that other people still remember them.

Finally, as we are in December, we should talk about Christmas. This time of year often brings back the feelings of loss and grief, especially the first Christmas after the deceased has passed away. Sometimes the anticipation and build up to the holidays is worse than the actual day itself often caused by the bereaved worrying how people will react to their sadness during a traditionally festive season.  Keep these feelings in mind during the holiday season, and perhaps offer extra support.

The two organisations below can help the bereaved although they are not the only options.

Rosie Crane Trust – The Rosie Crane Trust specialises in supporting parents throughout the mourning process and coming to terms with losing a child.

They have a 24 hour helpline – 01460 55120 and can also be contacted via email – contact@rosiecranetrust.co.uk.

Cruse Bereavement Care – Cruse Bereavement Care is the leading Charity for bereaved people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They offer face-to-face, telephone, email and website support – http://www.cruse.org.uk. A freephone service is also in place specifically for children and young people to call – 0808 808 1677.

If you want to know more about headstone insurance,  our team at UK Special Risks are ready to help. For questions about headstone insurance, please visit our website www.headstoneinsurance.co.uk or call 01634 862525 and one of our advisors will be happy to discuss your insurance requirements.