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  • Carol Ann Wilson

What NOT to say



Many of you have been around people who are grieving after the death of a partner, or a child, or a parent. What do you say to them?


My granddaughter had just returned from Europe due to the unexpected death of her father. I drove to her house to be there for her. I rushed in, took her in my arms, and said, “Oh honey, how are you?”

She broke into tears and screamed, “How do you think I am? My father just died! How do you think I am?”

That set me back a bit. I then realized that the inane question “How are you?” is stupid. I have actually erased it from my greeting to a grieving person. Now I say things like, “I’m here for you.” Or “I’m so sorry.” Or a hug. But not, “How are you?”


When my husband Bill, after 12 years of marriage, died suddenly, I was a mess for more than a year. I heard some really idiotic statements to me.

  • “You’re used to living alone so you’ll be OK.”

  • “How long are you going to wear your wedding rings?”

  • “Will you continue to use his last name?”

  • “What are some good things that have come from this?”

These statements were not helpful to me. I suggest that you do not use them. Instead, just try to be there for the grieving person in any way you can.

Thought for the day:

I believe in the sun even when it is not shining.

I believe in love even when I do not feel it.

I believe in God, even when He is silent.

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