Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Platitudes in Grief

Grief holds no boundaries. I am neither the exception from it nor am I an expert on it. My greatest teacher on this sensitive subject, however, has been my losses. 

To better understand grief's aftermath, I enrolled in a course that mainly focuses on Grief and Loss Counselling, with an emphasis on a counselor's role while assisting the bereaved. And it has opened my eyes to the wrongful use of platitudes in grief: 

" I know how you feel." 

" Your loved one is in a better place." 

" At least your loved one didn't suffer."

" Time heals all wounds."

" Everything happens for a reason."

" You should be over your grief by now."

" Your loved one would have wanted you to move on."

" Be strong." 

" Keep the faith."

Most of us (myself included) have used these platitudes with good intentions, though.

No doubt, for some, there is a certain level of discomfort and awkwardness when they are face-to-face with a bereaved person. They are fearful of saying the wrong thing but feel the need to, at least, say something, so they use platitudes in hopes of offering some support. But rarely do they have the outcome that one intended. If anything, it can minimize the bereaved person's pain. Saying I am sorry or simply being there with a reassuring hug or a listening ear is often enough. 

Grief, though universal to us all, is unique to the individual. 

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