Whether it's at a funeral or wake or just consoling someone during their grief, everyone feels the need to say something to make the situation better. But unfortunately, there is nothing anyone can do to make it better. Instead, we must be there for those who have lost someone, and make sure to avoid saying these things.
1. At least he/she lived a long life
No amount of time is ever enough with someone so dear. Something like this feels like excusing the passing and making it sound like it's okay. Despite grandparents sometimes being elderly at the time of their death, it doesn't make the grief any less intense.
2. Everything happens for a reason
I believe this with everything in me. But sometimes, it's impossible to see a reason, especially right away. And just because I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, it doesn't mean other people are and it doesn't make it right to say especially so soon after a death. Let the person come to realizations and understandings on their own. It may take months or years, but do not try to convince them this death happened for whatever reason.
3. I know how you feel
No. no no no. I don't care if you went through the same exact situation, you do not know how anyone else feels. You've been in their shoes in terms of the loss, but you have no idea how another person is dealing with a loss.
4. It's been over a year, you need to move on
No one gets to put a time stamp on how long recovery takes. For some, the grief period is shorter than others. Others might take years to cope with a death especially when it's someone so close. Never make someone feel like their should be over it.
5. At least he/she didn't suffer
No matter the situation, there is no way of knowing if the person was in any pain. People might also choose to keep that information inside rather than share if the person lost suffered at all.
6. You look like you're handling this well
Crying in front of people 24/7 gets old really fast. Every now and again people will try to hold it in to get through some conversation or they will wait until they are in private to let those feelings out. By telling someone how great they look given the situation, you're encouraging them to not let those feelings out.
7. It was his/her time to go
That's all well and good, but maybe they were still needed here. Just because it was his/her time doesn't mean the family and friends left behind are not entitled to grieve and miss that presence.
8. Stay strong
Once again, this encourages the facade with no tears and fake smiles. Let people cry. Let them show emotion. Let people grieve the losses that have hurt them. There is no time limit on grieving so please do not create one yourself.
Instead of these, remind people that you are here for them. Be with them without saying anything. Let them vent and scream and cry and just hold them. Sometimes silence speaks the loudest. Give hugs. Offer whatever you can. Relive a favorite memory or tell the loved one left behind a story they might not know. Tell them you just don't have the words but you will always be a phone call or text away. Always be ready to listen.