What To Say & Do When Someone Dies!!

Posted on February 8th, 2010 by Clinically Clueless

funeral-flowersOn Monday, February 1, 2010 my Grandma passed away. When she became ill, she lasted about two weeks. Previously, she was spunky, silly, loving and full of life. Our entire family was with her when she passed away. It is quite difficult for anyone to understand my grief, for she helped to raise me and for several years, I lived with my grandparents. Sometimes, I get the feeling from others including my family that she was “only my grandmother.”

My grandparents left a great legacy. Despite all of the in fighting and disagreements and people not speaking to each other, we all came together as a family. We set aside our differences and grudges and focused on Grandma and supporting each other. My grandparents formed us to “always” be a family in the tough times.

funeral_grandma_thumbsMy heart feels like a part has been ripped out. I am sad, angry at her physician, and depressed. My therapist told me to just let myself be whatever that may be in that moment instead of “shutting down” my feelings which just makes it worse. I have a difficult time doing this.  This time it is particularly difficult as I handled my Grandpa’s death in 2001 in the same manner and ended up with a major depressive episode.  This time it feels like I am grieving both.  There is emptiness inside which is normal and expected. I’m fighting not to feel “tooth and nail.”  It is really a good thing that I am in therapy right now…I want grieve and not get into trouble.  Within less than a week, I’m already in “trouble” with my eating disorder.

Dr. David Kessler, Grief and Loss Specialist for Tributes.com offers the best and the worst things to say to someone in this grief state :

The Worst Things to Say:

* At least she lived a long life, many people die young.

* He is in a better place.

* She brought this on herself.

* There is a reason for everything.

*Aren’t you over him yet? He has been dead for a while now.

My Additions: Things that I’ve heard or have been told.

*It is part of life.

*What did she die of?

*You have your memories of her.

*When was the last time you saw her?

*Were you close?

*At least she is not in pain anymore.

*It was good she went quickly, so she didn’t suffer.

*Was she a Christian?

*She is with the Lord now.

*She is with your Grandpa now.

*I understand, when my __________, I___________.

The Best Things to Say:

* I am so sorry for your loss.

* I wish I had the right words, just know I care.

* I don’t know how you feel, but I am here If can help in anyway.

* You and your loved one will be in my thoughts.

* My favorite memory of _________ is _________

My additions:

*Listen to them talk.

*Allow them to laugh and cry.

*It is okay for you to cry also.

*Hug the person

*Send a sympathy card.

*Be there for them.

*Let them grieve in their own time…everyone grieves at different rates and may come up after a long while.

*Provide support or an outing on anniversary dates (i.e. holidays, her birthday, the date of her death, etc…

*Be specific with what type of help you want to give. i.e. grocery shop, make or take telephone calls, provide a meal at the date they specify, etc…

I love you Grandma and miss you!!

So, do you have any suggestions regarding what to say and what not to say.  What has been helpful or not helpful to you?

14 Responses to “What To Say & Do When Someone Dies!!”

  1. Ian Baker says:

    sad news.

    One can only hope that you have inherited some of the characteristics of your grandparents.

    Surely some of your grandfathers spunk rubbed off on you?

  2. Oh, indeed I have!! Even at 88 when she passed, she was spunky!!
    .-= Clinically Clueless´s last blog ..Memories of Grandma!! =-.

  3. Ian Baker says:


    anyone who can generate spunk at 88 must be a heck of a person! i am 36 and being honest i am lacking in it a bit. I am sat down at an office all day and am sure this may have effected it!

    • She was really special up until the day before she passed. She has always had more spunk than anyone else in the family. I’m half her age and don’t feel as spunky as she ever was.

      The last day that she was able to talk and move around some. She had a hamburger, but it kept falling between her legs, so my mother kept gettin it for her. Grandma said, “hey, stop being fresh with me.” LOL
      .-= Clinically Clueless´s last blog ..Memories of Grandma!! =-.

  4. Ian Baker says:

    Haha thats hilarious! So much spunk over her hamburger eh!!

  5. footyman says:

    Sometimes we just need to give a good hug, and it says everything.
    .-= footyman´s last blog ..Happy Lunar New Year 2010!! =-.

  6. Ian Baker says:

    footyman its very honest of you to admit to being a tool. that is to be commended- self realisation is a gift

  7. Ann says:

    I truly don’t wish to be uncharitable but this post is so very wrong on so many levels. After two years as my mother’s companion — I exchanged work for her company so that I could share in her wealth of experience — which was worth more than any salary.

    After a brief hospitalization, in the face of devout members of the family deciding what was ‘right’ for her, I followed her request and took her home. I assisted her through her last 30 days as she began child and I mother. It was gentle, peaceful and richly rewarding emotionally.

    I didn’t rail at doctors or nurses. She was going to die and I saw that she did so peacefully. There is no reason for anger; it is a selfish indulgence.

    I have joy in my heart for the time I shared with her. What tears occasionally come, are for me. Death IS a part of life; we are born, we live and we die. It a beautiful cycle of life. We have abandoned the celebration of life at this time. It is the moment that a life is truly fulfilled.

    Why are the religious so bitter?

  8. Ian Baker says:

    Jesus loves you Ann. And forgives you. Provided you hand over your life to him and realise he died for you.

    Your mum sounds a great person- was she full of spunk as well?

    I agree death is a part of life. I for one can’t wait to take my place next to Him at the top table. It will be ace. Better than anyone can imagine. I imagine it would be a big room with a massive scalextric, big tellies, and a swimming pool filled with cherry coke and endless supplies of pizza.

    Praise be.

    I hope your mum is looking down and forgiving you.

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