What To Say To Someone Who Lost Their Grandpa
When a loved one dies, we all want to find the right words to say in order to comfort the bereaved. But what if you don't know what to say? What if you feel like you can't make things better?
Losing a grandparent is always difficult, and it is often the first death that many of us have to face. Whether the death was unexpected or sudden, it doesn't lighten the load or soften the blow. Death will always be a difficult subject, but it's important not to ignore those who are grieving. They need to know that they have your support.
Here are some tips on what to say (and what not to say) when someone has lost a grandparent.
Express your condolences
It's important to reach out to express your condolences as soon as you can. Whether you call, text, or send a card, take the time to let them know that you are thinking of them. You might say something like
"I'm so sorry for your loss. If there's anything I can do to help, please let me know."
"Your grandpa was such a kind person, I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers."
It might seem like a small gesture to you, but it can be incredibly comforting to someone that has lost their grandparent.
Don't try to fix things
When someone is grieving, they don't want you to try and fix the situation or make them feel better. It's not your job to make everything all better, so instead of trying to find the right words, just be there for them.
Listen to what they have to say and offer a shoulder to cry on. Grief can be an incredibly complex mixture of emotions ranging from anger and sadness to guilt and regret. Let the individual talk through their feelings so they can begin to make sense of what they are feeling.
Don't compare losses
It's important to remember that everyone experiences grief differently. Just because you might have lost your grandparent many years ago, doesn't mean that the person you are comforting is feeling the same way.
They might still be in shock or denial and might not be ready to talk about their feelings yet. Don't push them to share or suggest that they get over it and move on. Just because you managed to process the loss of your grandparent quickly, it doesn't mean that everyone else will deal with their loss in the same way.
Grief is a process, and it can take weeks, months, or even years to fully work through the stages of grief. It's important to be patient with those who are grieving and to understand that there is no timeline for grief.
While the stages of grief might seem linear, they rarely are, so a person might seem to be improving but then they will sink back into previous stages of grief.
Allow them to grieve in their own time and in their own way. Just make sure they know that you are there to support them in any way they need. If their grief is becoming too much to handle, they might benefit from professional support.
Encourage the person to reach out to a grief counsellor or speak to their GP about the options available to them when their grief becomes too much.
What not to say
There are some things that you should avoid saying when someone has lost their grandparent:
"It's all part of the cycle of life."
"They're in a better place now."
"It was their time to go."
These phrases might be well-intentioned, but they are rarely welcome or helpful.