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

Funeral Attire 101: What to Wear and What to Avoid

When it comes to funerals, dressing in a way that demonstrates respect for the departed is always in good taste. As styles change and the rules for these events continue to evolve, it may leave yo...

The Shakedown on Salt: Six Tips for Avoiding Hidden Sodium

Consuming too much sodium can be harmful to your heart. It’s been linked to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular issues including heart disease and stroke. Research has also conn...

The Practical Guide to Estate Planning: Eight Important Facts Everyone Should Know

Everyone can benefit from having a plan in place if the unexpected happens. Still, more than half of American adults lack basic estate planning documents, according to the American Association of ...

Do You Know How to Plan for Your Pet’s Care After Your Passing?

What would happen to your pet if you passed away unexpectedly? Without a plan in place, the results can be tragic. Part of responsible pet ownership includes taking the necessary steps to ensure ...

Expressing Sympathies at a Virtual Funeral: Seven Essential Rules of Digital Etiquette

When the pandemic forced the world to remain apart, virtual funeral services allowed family members and loved ones to come together regardless of physical distance. Now that restrictions have ease...

Casket vs. Coffin: Six Key Differences You Should Know

Both coffins and caskets serve as burial containers that hold the body of the departed. While the terms casket and coffin are often used interchangeably, these vessels have some important differenc...

How Much Do You Know About the Rooms in a Funeral Home and Their Uses

From traditional brick facades with imposing marble pillars to sleek modern buildings and quaint Victorians, funeral homes come in many styles and sizes. Have you ever thought about the many purpos...

How to Announce Funeral Services: Five Tried and True Suggestions

Funeral announcements serve as loving tributes to those who are no longer with us. Most people are unsure of what to include in these communications, so we have compiled some helpful information an...

Can You Pass a Funeral Procession? Important Protocols Everyone Should Know

There is nothing in the Maryland Driver's Handbook that addresses what to do when encountering a funeral procession. It’s not surprising that many motorists are unsure of the rules of the road fo...

Fill Your Plate with These Seven Inflammation-Busting Foods

At Vaughn Greene Funeral Services, we care about your health. And being informed about nutrition and gut health is an important part of managing your health care. Chronic inflammation is li...