Healthy Spaces

What not to say to a grieving person

A bereaved person should be allowed to grieve because it is part of the healing process.
A bereaved person should be allowed to grieve because it is part of the healing process.ST FILE PHOTO
  • Here are some things that you should avoid saying to a person who is grieving:
  • I know how you feel: This may be a well-meaning comment but the grieving person may not appreciate this as you can never know exactly how he feels.
  • He's in a better place: He may not believe this. It is best to keep your beliefs to yourself unless asked.
  • You should be strong for your family: A bereaved person should be allowed to grieve. It's a process that he or she goes through in order to heal.
  • Don't dwell so much on it. It's time to move on with your life: This is easier said than done. You cannot rush the grieving process as there's no set timetable for grieving. Some people may take 18 months to heal, while others take a longer or shorter time.

Joyce Teo

  • Source: Ms Candice Tan, senior medical social worker, Tan Tock Seng Hospital; American Hospice Foundation.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2016, with the headline 'What not to say to a grieving person '. Print Edition | Subscribe