There are literally hundreds of thousands of rants (this may be a gross exaggeration) about stupid and inconsiderate things you can say to someone who is grieving, or more specifically in my case, grieving a spouse.
People who are grieving are overly sensitive and overly critical of the people in their lives trying to support them. Too often it is too easy to criticize something someone says, to take it the wrong way, or to brush aside the intent for the content. Someone who is grieving is bristly, easily offended, and often irrational.
People who are grieving want to find comfort when there is none to be found.
People in our lives try too hard to support the grieving, they tend to be awkward, they do not know what to do, they do not know what to say, and truly, is there a really a right thing to do or say??? I want to focus on the opposite for a second. What about the good things that people do and say? Let’s talk about those.
One of the BEST things I experienced from a friend during the early months of grieving: I had a friend who just kept me company, let me lead the conversation, just listened when I felt like talking, and just heard me. She spoke to me when I wanted to talk, and she sat with me in silence when I didn’t want to say anything at all. Most importantly, she NEVER tried to compare anything in her life to mine.
Another great thing I learned, people cared! They may not know the right things to say or do, but I still allowed myself to feel uplifted by theirs words and actions. Until this tragedy struck my life, I didn’t realize, or remember, how many people really cared. I had people from all corners of my life reach out to support me. My best friend and first friend from childhood (since we were about 4 years old) reached out, and called me all the way from China. Friends and family brought me to tears of joy with their sentiment and condolences. I saved every note and every card. They touched me more than I ever thought they would. It is for this reason that I take time now to put thought and sentiment into the cards and notes I write to others. Not just out of sympathy, but in life. People opened up their hearts and wrote to me from places of personal experience. Not everyone, and probably not anyone, really understood my EXACT experience, but they exposed their own and I have nothing but admiration and gratefulness for them for it. They care about me enough to expose their own vulnerability.
And please, do not EVER underestimate the friends and family that make you laugh! Laughter actually DOES help heal the soul. Value the people in your life that can catch you off-guard with a smile or a laugh, keep them close, talk or text them frequently, or in my case keep them going through a group chat that has lasted years, based entirely on inappropriate humor, offensive language, and sarcasm!
People who are grieving want to find comfort when there is none to be found...unless you really look.
Friends and family may drift away in the day to day, but they can be there when you need them, if you just let them.