Death by suicide hits close to home. Pretty much everyone knows someone who lost their life to it.
Suicide kills more than 40,000 Americans every year. Anyone can be a suicide victim, and anyone can be the family or loved one of those who died from it. How can you sympathize with them?
Words of Comfort
McDougal Funeral Home stresses the importance of offering support to suicide survivors in these trying times. As a friend, words of comfort can assure your grieving loved ones that you’ll be there as they go through a difficult period.
While cliché quotes may seem uplifting, they may not be what your loved ones need to hear. An “Everything will be alright” or “Time heals all wounds” or “Things happen for a reason” may not be reassuring at all. In fact, they may seem harsh and hurtful to the grieving.
Talking About Their Grief
Instead of attempting to lighten up the mood with your words, try lightening up how they feel by letting them talk about their grief. Don’t start asking about the deceased until the family member, especially the mother, opens up about them. Offer your condolences, give them a hug, and wait for them to talk about their loved one.
Set aside any prejudices or differences in beliefs, and let them express their emotions freely. You’re there to sympathize and accompany them in grieving, even if it’s just for a short time. Allow them to unburden, to be sad and even angry. Whether or not you understand exactly how they feel, let them say what they need to say at that moment.
Talking to Them
Respect their need to grieve, but remind them they don’t have to do it alone. When the conversation hits too close to home, you may want to offer them a shoulder to cry on. Once you start talking, drop a simple, “Tell me if you need anything” or “I’m here for you and your family.”
Follow up on them even after your visit. Call to catch up with them, and when birthdays and anniversaries come around, send a message or a small present to show you remember their loved one like they do.
Expressing sympathy to suicide survivors takes maturity, sensitivity, and genuine care. There’s no sure way of easing the pain, but there are ways to go through it with them. And the best one is to be with them.