What to Say (and Not Say) to Those Who are Grieving a COVID-19 Loss

By: VGFS
Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is robbing us of many things. Chief among them is physical connection while social distancing measures remain in place. Although hugs are sidelined and public funerals are not an option right now, you still have plenty of opportunities to show love and support to the bereaved.

Whether they are expressed virtually or from afar, your words and actions can be a beacon of hope to the grief-stricken. If someone you know has lost a loved one to COVID-19, here are some do’s and don’ts to help you navigate your supportive role during this unprecedented time.

 

The Don’ts:

  • Don’t say “I know how you’re feeling.” Although you may have lost a loved one in the past, you can’t really know how someone else is feeling in their loss―especially since the circumstances now are very different. Because of the shelter in place related to the coronavirus, your friend was likely not able to be physically present with their loved one while they were ill or when they passed. This can make for exceptionally complicated grief. They are also dealing with unusual and difficult circumstances you did not encounter. Instead, be a good listener and acknowledge his or her pain. For example, you could say, “I’m so sorry for your loss. This must be extremely difficult for you.”
     
  • Don’t ask, "How can I help?" Although it is natural to want to offer support to loved ones who are grieving, this close-ended statement places the burden of asking for assistance on the bereaved. Instead, put yourself in the mourner’s shoes to identify practical ways you can lend a hand. Send over some masks, Lysol wipes, or other important essentials. Pick up some groceries, have dinner delivered, or offer to cut the grass.
     
  • Don’t disappear. In times of loss, it can be easy to send a condolence note and then lose touch. However, remaining in your friend’s life during this challenging and lonely time is more important than ever. Staying present can be as simple as sending a text or making a phone call. The most important thing is to make sure they can still feel your love and support. How often you reach out and what you say depends on how close you are to the bereaved. If you spoke frequently before the passing, continue doing so.


The Do’s:

  • Do offer to help plan a funeral or memorial. Funerals and memorial services provide solace and a sense of closure for those who have lost a loved one. In the age of coronavirus, these rituals have changed to smaller gatherings, online events, and celebrations of life at later dates, but they remain vitally important. If the bereaved person wishes to have a funeral or remembrance event, extend an offer to help with the planning and orchestration.
  • Do share happy memories. Reliving joyful times can bring immense comfort during periods of sorrow. If you have fond recollections of the person who passed on, do not keep them to yourself. Simply sending an email to those who were closest to the deceased, detailing the memory that always brings a smile to your face, could make their day.
  • Do offer helpful coping strategies. Grief is a complicated beast and we all process loss differently. Consider passing along helpful resources such as What's Your Grief to the bereaved. This site offers guides and resources (like e-courses and webinars) on issues surrounding death and mourning. Many people also find virtual support groups to be beneficial when working through grief. You could say something like, "I found this helpful when [insert name] passed away and I thought it may also help you at this difficult time."

It can be hard to know the right thing to say during tough times like these, but your grieving friends and family are sure to appreciate your compassionate support. If you have questions or are seeking additional resources, please contact our caring professionals. It is always our pleasure to be of assistance.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 20 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved one. For more information, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.

 

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

Returning to Work After a Loved One Passes: Eight Helpful Coping Strategies

When you are returning to work after a loved one passes away, it can be an emotional journey filled with uncertainty. If the prospect of heading back to your workplace after loss feels overwhelmin...

How Should You Choose the Day and Time of the Funeral?

When bidding farewell to a cherished family member or friend, one of the most significant decisions you’ll face is selecting the appropriate day and time of the funeral. Amid the emotional challen...

Celebrating National Alcohol & Drug Recovery Month

This September we celebrate National Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month. Starting in 1989, National Recovery Month was coined to promote and support evidence-based treatment and recovery...

Do You Know the Signs of Dehydration? Seven Sneaky Symptoms That Might Surprise You

We pay close attention to the signs of dehydration we've grown accustomed to, but these less-apparent indictors are just as important. We all know staying hydrated is critical for good health, esp...

Planning Your Own Funeral? Here's Why That's a Smart Way to Go

Planning your funeral is an act of compassion that alleviates the stress on your family, allowing them to focus on healing and cherishing your memory. There are few things in life as poignant as c...

The AFRO Honors Morticians as Unsung Heroes

The AFRO honored the “Unsung Heroes” of the COVID-19 pandemic at Valley Mansion by Martin’s on Aug. 6. At a special event earlier this month, the media company commended morticians for their...

Seven Important Considerations When Making Funeral Decisions for a Departed Loved One

Making funeral decisions can be challenging, but it also offers an opportunity to celebrate the life of your loved one. Saying goodbye to a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences any f...

August is Black-Owned Business Month: We Celebrate With You

During August, we celebrate and recognize Black Business Month and the invaluable contributions generations of Black Americans have made in our communities, economy, and world. The forward momentu...

Seven Lesser-Known Signs of Dementia that Might Surprise You

While most people are aware of its familiar symptoms like memory loss, there are lesser-known signs of dementia that can be just as important. Dementia is a condition that affects millions of indi...

Wondering What to Bring to a Funeral or Celebration of Life?

While sympathy cards or floral arrangements are customary, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to what to bring to a funeral, memorial, or life celebration. While our presence at a funera...