Rev. Audette gave a wonderful talk at the Living Fully, Fully Prepared Conference on October 26th. In keeping with our themes for this time of year, we are presenting, with her permission, a portion of Rev. Audette’s presentation.

What to Say:

What NOT to say:

I’m sorry.

I’m sad for you.

How are you doing with all this?

I don’t know why it happened.

What can I do for you?

I’m here and I want to listen.

Please tell me what you are feeling.

This must be hard for you.

What’s the hardest part for you?

I’ll call tomorrow.

You must really be hurting.

It isn’t fair, is it?

You must really feel angry.

Take all the time you need.

I understand how you feel.

Death was a blessing.

It was God’s will.

It’s all for the best.

You’re still young.

You have your whole life ahead of you.

You can have other children.

You can always remarry.

Call me if I can help.

Something good will come of this.

At least you have another child.

She/he had a full life.

It’s time to put it behind you.

Be strong!

Don’t be afraid to talk of the deceased. People want to know their loved ones are remembered. Be sensitive to the bereaved person, but do tell stories of how their loved one made a difference in your own life, or let them know you would be glad to hear about their loved one.

Be in touch with your grieving friend regularly. After the first few weeks, people who are grieving are often left to grieve alone, with others, less close to the deceased, having “moved on.” Check in at the end of a month, 2 months, six months, at the anniversary of the death and certainly on special occasions such as the deceased’s birthday, major holidays, anniversaries. Let grieving friends know you are still thinking of their loved one.

Offer to do specific things. “Call me if you need anything” is a useless message to someone feeling overwhelmed. Instead, say things like “I’d like to bring you lunch on Tuesday,” or “May I do your laundry this week? Or “Can I take the kids to the park this afternoon? I thought you might like some time to rest.”

Thank you, Rev. Audette, for a beautiful talk, helpful to any of us who find ourselves wishing to be the most help we can to the bereaved.


Ria Brownlow, RN and

Your UU Faith Community Nursing Team


Categories: FCN