When I was newly grieving, one of the most helpful pieces of advice I received came from a close friend.
On the day my husband Jim died, she said, “People will say things to you that you won’t believe. Try not to let it bother you. It’s because they don’t know what to say.”
I was so grateful for this, because there were a lot of awkward moments. You wouldn’t believe some of them, but if you’ve lost someone you love, maybe you will.
And I understand – it can be hard to know what to say. As a psychotherapist who has worked with many grieving clients, and as someone who has experienced great loss, I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me:
“What do I say? What can I do? How can I help?”
So I put together this simple guide. Yes, saying how sorry you are is a start, but there is more that you can do to support someone who is grieving. There’s a lot to say about this subject, and by no means is this a comprehensive map to to such a sensitive and personal experience, but it is meant to be a basic “essentials” guide. I hope it gives you insight into what is helpful and how you can be supportive.
And if YOU are the one who is grieving, I hope this will help to shine a little light on what kinds of experiences you may have (or have already had) and let you know you are not alone. This guide can help to support you through those awkward conversations and more.
My award-winning book is for anyone who is grieving and for those who want to help:
You can order a copy of You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide for Grief, Healing, and Hope on Amazon here.
Debbie Augenthaler, LMHC, NCC, is an author and psychotherapist in private practice in New York City, where she specializes in trauma, grief and loss. Her award-winning book, You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide for Grief, Healing, and Hope combines her personal story of devastating loss with practical insights and simple suggestions for healing. Join her Facebook community, Grief to Gratitude, and follow her on Instagram.