Category Archives: Talking to the Bereaved

What do you say to parents of a deceased newborn?

Dear Dr. Neimeyer, Aside from saying “sorry for your loss” what else could you say to parents whose premature baby died three weeks old in the hospital?  I don’t want to say the wrong thing. Lisa Dear Lisa, The way you phrase your question is helpful, because although there are few clear rules about what one should

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Anticipatory grief, when a loved one is dying

Dealing with Anticipatory Grief Dear Dr. Neimeyer, My question is about anticipatory grief, the distress that family members can feel when a loved one is receiving end-of-life care. I work in a palliative care unit of a large hospital, and we often have families who are overwhelmed with the reality of the patient’s impending death,

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Three suggestions for dealing with insensitive consolations

Dear Dr. Neimeyer, My husband, Joseph, has been gone less than a year, and I can’t believe the stupid things people say to me, trying to make me “feel better.”  “Time heals all wounds–you just need to stay busy,” “You’ve got to look on the bright side; at least you had him all these years,”

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What to say to a grieving friend

Dear Dr. Neimeyer, I have a friend who recently had a tragic loss, but I find myself uncertain about what to say to her. I don’t want to intrude. What is the best thing to say to someone who is bereaved? –Laurie Dear Laurie, In Buddhism, the Noble Eightfold Path describes the attitudes and behaviors

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