What's the best way to comfort the bereaved? Do you struggle with what to say or not to say?
Although my parents are late, I still feel helpless with regards to comforting the bereaved. One rule is don't say, "I understand your feeling, stop crying." But then something surprising happened on my mum's burial.
My brothers and I had been encouraged not to cry in the public. The best we could do was to go into the room when the emotion becomes unbearable. I was the one who carried mum's picture, sitting in front of the ambulance, wondering how that truly mum was dead, stealing glances at the white coffin and imagining how mum was feeling in there. I was 19, a teenager and to everyone’s surprise, my elder brother, broke down and cried unbearably loud as soon as we got home. The surprise was that he was the “strongest” one in the family; as such he was not "expected" to cry. I learnt that grief rips apart even the mighty.
Everyone needs comforting.
I posted a remembrance flyer of my late parents on my social media status, and someone had replied "be strong." Do people even know what losing a loved one or family member feels like? Do they truly understand one’s experiences after such losses? Do you really understand the impact of losing both of your parents, your guardians, prayer coverage, counsellors? And it goes on & on.
I think everyone should read more about grief, death and comforting individuals that lose loved ones. Sometimes in the bid to comfort, we ignorantly make people grieving uncomfortable.
Are you wondering the ideal way to comfort a bereaved friend? If you've lost a loved one, what was the most resonating consolation you received? Have you broken the first rule I stated? Is there a rule that applies to everyone?
Share your worst comforting statement, you have ever heard. Can’t wait to read your opinion.
Writer: Oduogu Victor.
Editor: Onwuatuelo Chisom & The Director of Communication, InvisibleOne Inc