In this article, we will help you figure out what to say when someone’s grandma dies. In addition, we’ll go over the common phrases you should definitely avoid in these situations. After all, it’s far from easy to have someone in your family die, but it’s also quite difficult to be the person who has to console someone related to the departed.
A Grandmother’s Death
Death is never easy. We’ve all been there; when you lose a loved one, you can barely find the strength to stand, let alone act in a composed manner. Granted, lots of people manage, but at some point, we all break down. They don’t call death the Great Equalizer for anything.
Losing a grandparent can have a different effect on people. Granted, lots of people worldwide tend to grow up never knowing their grandmothers. But those who do know them, know what a special bond it is between a grandma and her grandchild. That’s why it’s important to carefully think about what to say when someone’s grandma dies. Proper expression of condolences can go a long way in helping your friend heal.
What to Say When Someone’s Grandma Dies — A Short List
I’m Sorry for Your Loss
Empathy is a powerful feeling to express to someone during their period of grief. The very first words we should utter to our friend or loved one during a funeral are exactly the ones in the subheading above. Not only are we putting their needs first, but we’re also letting them know that we are willing to share some of that pain. It might be a small, subconscious gesture on our part, that much is true. But it’s an incredibly effective one and it will strengthen the bond you have with the person who lost their grandma.
2. This Must Be Hard For You
Sharing the pain always helps, but it has to start somewhere. And the best place to start is to let the griever know that you acknowledge their emotional ache. When we approach them with the words “this must be hard for you,” we are allowing them to open up without outright asking them. This gesture is quite meaningful, as it will allow them to share their immediate feelings and lessen the load, in a sense.
3. You Are In My Thoughts
At such a difficult hour as death, the griever needs to know they have someone they can rely on. By letting them know we’re thinking about them, we are effectively saying “talk to me anytime, you will always have a face to speak to and a shoulder to cry on”.
4. Discussing the Departed
Sometimes, it’s quite simple to find out what to say when someone’s grandma dies. Remembering what she was like, how she acted, how she made us feel — all of those will provide some relief to the griever.
5. Sharing a Memory
This part is essentially the next step in discussing the departed. Sometimes, the best way to remember someone’s grandma is to retell a memory that involved her. Maybe an anecdote that puts her virtues front and center. Sometimes, an interesting conversation can be retold during a funeral and help the aggrieved party cope.
6. Sharing Love
Finding out what to say when someone’s grandma dies also depends on how close you are to the griever. For example, if your spouse lost their grandma, remind them of how much you love them. Moreover, if they’re a friend, simply tell them how much you care for them and be there for them during the long recovery process.
What NOT to Say When Someone’s Grandma Dies — A Short List
She Lived a Long Life
In and of itself, this statement isn’t inaccurate or even bad. Most grandmas do pass away having lived a full life. But because of how final this statement is, it’s not the best idea to say it early on in the grieving process. First, focus on the griever and let them know you’re there for them. After some time has passed, you can discuss their grandma’s long life and natural, peaceful death.
You’ll Feel Better Soon
Obviously, this phrase is something we highly recommend skipping. Of course, a griever will feel better after some time has passed, there’s no doubt about it. But that doesn’t mean it’s helpful to say it during a funeral. They might feel better soon, but they’re feeling awful at the moment.
The same goes for similar phrases, such as “now you can move on with your life.” As well-intentioned as they are, they can come off as callous or insensitive.
How Are You Holding Up?
As bizarre as this might sound, this phrase definitely belongs in the “don’t” category. There is no bad intent behind saying “how are you holding up,” and we all know that. But it sounds too casual, too friendly. A person who hears it might try to put on a face and act as if they’re doing better than they are. Alternatively, they can lash out stating the obvious, i.e. that they feel awful. Once again, this isn’t a phrase that you should use until some time has passed.
I Don’t Know What I’d Do
Whatever the situation, never try to put yourself in the spotlight during a funeral. Obviously, the phrase “I don’t know what I’d do in your situation” is a perfectly valid sentiment. However, you’re clearly not in the griever’s shoes. As such, it might be a good idea not to focus on your own potential deceased grandmother and instead talk about theirs.
At Least She Didn’t Suffer
Once again, this phrase is not something you want to use to address the person who is grieving. In fact, this statement can have the opposite effect and make the person feel even worse. The same goes for other, cliched phrases such as “she’s in a better place” and “she’s at rest now.” To the person grieving, that doesn’t help, since their grandma is no longer there, with them.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Body Language
It’s not just about knowing what to say when someone’s grandma dies. Body language is important when it comes to consoling a loved one, especially if they start crying.
During these situations, it’s vital to let the grievers know we’re there for them. A gentle, friendly embrace can provide them with warmth and comfort without saying a single word. Allowing them to cry on your shoulder or into your chest also helps. Moreover, if you can, maintain eye contact with them. That way you’re letting them know that they have your full attention. Don’t be afraid of shedding a tear or two yourself. Empathy is quite powerful when you express it with your body language.
Of course, there are also somebody language quirks you should try to avoid. When the person who lost their grandma starts crying, don’t look away. Also, try not to flinch, cringe, or let out audible sighs of frustration. If you do that, the crying person might feel ashamed of their sorrow. They might also try to force themselves to stop crying, which can cause them to feel even more depressed than before.
Cheerful, friendly gestures can be inappropriate during this time. A pat on the back or a nudge at the shoulder is great for casual conversations. However, using them to “cheer up” someone at a funeral is usually not a good idea.
A Few Words at the End
Naturally, not everyone deals with grief the same. In fact, you might instinctively learn what to say when someone’s grandma dies simply by being their friend for years. For instance, we stated earlier that friendly nudges don’t help someone who grieves for their grandmother. However, there are people out there who prefer to cope with grief through humor. Others prefer to be left alone, while others still need to do some activity and keep themselves occupied.
Overall, we need to approach the death of a grandmother carefully. It’s not easy, but if we do it right, we will help our loved ones through grief and hardships to come.