1. Never say “I know how you feel” at a funeral.
Instead, say: “I can’t imagine how you feel.”
By the time we’re adults, most of us will have experienced the loss of a family member, friend or colleague. What’s important to note, however, is that although the phases of grief are similar, we don’t necessarily know how another grieving individual truly feels. “Everyone’s experience is unique,” says Jaime Bickerton, executive director of Bereaved Families of Ontario—Midwestern Region. “Everyone’s loss is the worst, because it’s theirs.”
It can help to think of yourself in a helper role, says author, grief counsellor and director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition, Dr. Alan Wolfelt. “Walk ‘with,’ not ‘behind’ or ‘in front of’ the person who is mourning.”