Grief by the numbers
4-9 seconds: How much longer it takes a grieving person to respond to a question.
23,000: The number of times we’ve heard some version of “Don’t feel bad” by the time we’re 15 years old. We become expert at denying “bad” feelings.
141 -> 19: Research shows that out of 141 comments designed to comfort, 19 worked.
Avoid saying things like “Time heals all wounds;” “He’s in a better place;” “You’re young, you’ll have more children;” and “You can get another pet.”
Has anyone really ever responded to the offer “call me if you need anything?” Someone in grief might not have the energy to call, or doesn’t want to feel like a burden. Better than “call me” is something specific, such as offering to pick up the kids from school on a particular day or days, or bringing supper over.
When you’re trying to comfort someone, you don’t have to say anything– just let the mourner know you’re listening… even if s/he doesn’t feel like talking.