I don’t know what to say

by Rod Smith

When someone you know is faced with difficult or sad circumstances and you don’t know what to say then say that. 

“I don’t know what to say,” is at least the truth.

It’s better than launching some tired cliche you hope will be comforting. The truth, as you see it, is a good place to start. Contrary to common belief, people who are grieving want to talk about the person who has died. It’s often relieving to know it’s ok to speak even about death, and what you miss, and what and whom you lost.

The newly divorced man or woman may want you to name your discomfort with his or her loss of a marriage. The parent who’s son or daughter is in rehab for alcohol or drugs hardly wants you to consider their battling son or daughter invisible.

Then, once you have opened the door by being open to talk, spend the rest of your energy listening. Really listening. Listening, not correcting, not trying to provide false comfort, not trying to ease over or around what is important to the speaker.

If you don’t know what to say be assured the one who is in grief may really want to do all the talking.

If not, well, the silence that may prevail between you is the kind that is truly golden.

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