Besides going through the grief of losing someone, one of the hardest things a child can go through is knowing and seeing their parent dying. If you know someone who's going through this situation, perhaps you've considered approaching them or sending your sympathies but are unsure how to do this exactly.
Knowing what to say to someone whose parent is dying can be tricky. You might feel like you want to say something to make them feel better, but you don't want to say the wrong thing and make them feel worse. So read on to find some things you can do and say that might help.
How Exactly Can People Respond to Others Grieving?
First of all, it's important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Everyone experiences grief differently and respond in their unique way. The same thing applies to someone who's trying to process the fact that their mom or dad is dying.
While it might seem easier to step away for a little bit to avoid an awkward situation, it's still better to show them that you care. Offer your support and understanding; listen to them if they want to talk, and let them know that they're not dealing with this alone.
Why Is It Important to Know How to Respect Others’ Grief?
Again, everyone experiences and expresses pain and grief differently, so it's essential to respect how others are grieving. For example, some people might want to talk about their loss a lot, while others might not want to talk about it at all. Some might want lots of company, while others might prefer solitude.
Respecting someone's grief means giving them the space they need to mourn and not pushing them to "snap out of it" or telling them that they're grieving wrong. It also means not trying to fix the person or telling them what they should do next.
Taking care of a parent and watching over them during their last moments on Earth is extremely difficult already, so just a little bit of respect goes a long way to not add to this pain.
What Should You Say to Someone Whose Parent Is Dying?
“I’m sorry for what you’re going through right now.”
When thinking of expressions of sympathy, you can always go straight to the point by letting them know you're sorry to hear that they're going through such a difficult time. It's a simple phrase that your friend or acquaintance could still find comfort in hearing.
“Let me know if you need anything.”
During a very emotionally and physically tiring period in their life, it's great to let them know that you have their back. As much as they care for their parent, they need someone to look out for them too.
“It’s hard to imagine what you’re going through fully, but I’m here to support you.”
It's okay not to understand the person's grief or experiences when you want to have a meaningful conversation with them. You can acknowledge this while letting them know they have your full support, so they don't have to deal with this difficult time alone.
What Should You Avoid Doing With People in Grief Because of Their Parents?
Avoid saying, "I understand what you're going through"
While it might seem like a good idea to let them know someone feels the same way, a person going through a time of grief could take this the wrong way. Even if you might have some experience with death or sorrow, the truth is that no one goes through the same grieving process the same way. It's best to avoid saying this or something similar to it.
Don't make things about you
Similarly, it's best not to shift the attention to you and your experiences. When offering your deepest sympathies, your focus should solely be on the person whose parent is dying only.
Don't push them to be more positive
Lastly, when sending a message of comfort, you shouldn't try pushing them to be happy or to think positively. The grieving process isn't something you can rush - letting them process their feelings during these emotional times could help more than forcing them to be happier.
3 Things You Could Give to Someone Who is Grieving Over Their Parent
If you're still unsure how to approach someone and would instead find other ways to provide comfort for people, you can express that you care by giving your acquaintance or loved one a gift. Here are some sympathy gift ideas that you can consider:
Sympathy Care Package
One great gift you can give is a sympathy gift basket or package. Especially for those caring for a dying parent at home or in a hospice, this kind of gift can help them find a sense of comfort, even if just a little bit.
The package's contents depend on you and what you think your loved one or acquaintance needs the most. For example, you can handpick their favorite snacks or select some self-care items like a warm blanket or a tea set.
Sympathy Card with a Painting
Another simple yet good gift idea is sending a card. Especially if you can't meet with someone in person, you can still express your messages of comfort by writing these down instead. The painting adds a personal touch and makes the card more special. The painting might include flowers, trees, landscapes or a family photo of them that can provide hope and comfort during this difficult time.
Flowers or Succulents
You can also give your acquaintance or friend some flowers or plants. These flowers or succulents may be simple, but they let the recipient know you're thinking of them during this tough time.
3 Helpful Tips for Supporting Other People Who Just Lost Their Loved One
When the time does come, it's still important to show your support for your friend who's going through this loss. Consider some of these tips when you express your condolences and support:
Listen without judgment
Let your friend or acquaintance talk about their feelings and what they are going through. Even if they repeat some stories about their mom or dad, being there to listen without judging them could be a big help.
Allow them to express their grief in their own way
Remember always to respect and allow them to express their own grief. If they find it easier to cry, let them cry. There's no need to rush this process or to tell them how you think they should be feeling or doing.
Be there for them when they need you
Just as you've offered support while their mom or dad was dying, it would be helpful when they're experiencing loss. For example, you can help them cook easy-to-eat meals or look after their house.
Find Out Exactly What People Can Do for Others in Grief Through Memorialize Art
If you're still looking for other ways to express your sympathy or support for someone grieving, you can help keep the memory of their parent alive through some types of artwork. Reach out to Memorialize Art to find out what else you can do or get for your friend going through this loss.