It can be quite challenging to find the right words to say to someone who is going through the process of mourning. It’s natural to worry that you’ll say something that will alienate or misunderstand the other person, but the best way to express support is to simply be there for them when they need you. “Listen to what they have to say without passing judgment and show empathy.
There is no set timetable for grief, and it is helpful to avoid expecting someone to stop talking about their loss or feel better after a certain arbitrary amount of time has passed “According to Sarah Vollmann, MPS, an art therapist who is also a faculty member at the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition, she is board-certified.
When speaking to someone who is going through the process of grieving, it is important to not try to ignore the subject of their loss or to sweep it under the floor. According to Celia Bradshaw, PhD, a clinical psychologist who works in private practice, “Don’t make the loss anything taboo.” “Whatever you do, don’t make the loss something taboo.”
There will be moments when a grieving person wants to talk about their loss, and there will also be times when they do not. It is important to let the grieving person know that you are open to talking about their loss, but also to give them the freedom to determine if and when they want to open up. Whether you were to believe what Vollmann has to say about it, you may say something along the lines of, “I’m not sure if talking about your dad is something you feel like doing at this moment in time. If you want to talk about him, we can, but if you’d rather discuss something else, that’s absolutely OK too.” It would be preferable to let them take the initiative here.