Touch is such a powerful language. When words can’t convey the myriad of emotions we experience or when we are at a loss for words, touch can fill the gap up to communicate what we want to express.
It is thus not uncommon to see touch in different forms – hugs being exchanged, hands being placed on shoulders and the holding of hands; all in grim silence at a funeral wake. In such instances, words need not be said and the universal language of touch would probably play a better role at comforting the bereaved family members.
It is not hard to find something to say to the affected family members when death is expected and due to old age but what if death is unexpected and due to accidents/suicides? It might be trickier to find something appropriate to speak to the bereaved members of the family. Whatever spoken in a bid to comfort the family members might not be received the way it was intended to be conveyed. Also, do refrain from saying:
- I understand (Because honestly how can we? We have not been in the exact same shoes so how can we so easily say we understand?)
- Time will heal (Yes, sure time heals all things but people are grieving right now. It’s probably not the best time to say such cliché phrases.)
- This will pass (Different people deal with grief differently. Some take a longer time to process the loss.)
Next time you attend a funeral wake and are loss for words, a touch – pat on the shoulders with a simple sincere “My Condolences” would often be sufficient. Sometimes the physical presence of yourself and the reassurance that you’ll be there for your friend/ family during their grieving moment is what matters most to the bereaved family members.