How to Condole Someone Who Lost a Loved One to Mesothelioma

How to Condole Someone Who Lost a Loved One to Mesothelioma
How to Condole Someone Who Lost a Loved One to Mesothelioma
October 1, 2016

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is linked to exposure to asbestos. There is no cure for cancer as of now and those who are diagnosed are placed under palliative care to help ease the pain. What this means is that their imminent death cannot be downplayed. The sorrow of losing a loved one is what families of mesothelioma victims are subjected to every now and then.

Picking the right words of solace is really challenging

‘I am sorry for your loss’, ‘Accept my condolence and heartfelt sympathy’ and so on have become common phrases people use in sympathizing with those that have lost a loved one. However, these words tend to distance us from feeling the pain the person is going through. One of Greys Anatomy episodes puts it better as, ‘a pat little phrase, and an empty one.’

Read also: Breaking Bad News to Mesothelioma Victims and Families

The best thing to say is to say nothing

‘I am sorry for your loss’ has become the most popular word used by people in sympathizing with those grieving for their loss. The phrase made it to the Huffington Post’s ‘The 8 Best Thing You Can Say to Someone Who Is Grieving’ which was written by Christy Heitger-Ewing. On the other hand, you can also choose the part of saying nothing which is also contained in the list.

Showing affection is better than saying words

Staying in the person’s presence is always better words. Instead of looking for the right words to say show them affection – action speaks louder than voice. Hold out a tissue paper for them to wipe their tears, hug them, make a cup of coffee for them and accompany them for a walk if they feel like it. If there should be a discussion, allow them to initiate it and just follow it up.

Read also: The Need for Mesothelioma Patients to Plan Realistic New Year Resolution

There are certain words you should avoid

Never make the mistake of telling someone you know exactly how they feel. You can only know exactly what people feel if you can get into their head and we know that is not possible. Other words you can say include:

  • ‘I am here for you’
  • ‘Do you want to talk about your loved one?’
  • ‘How are you doing’

Do not stop people from talking about their loved ones

Those who have lost a loved one would generally want to keep a fond memory of them by talking about them and recalling their last moments but will often need your prompt memory to do so. Do not deny the beauty of caressing these fading memories by shutting them up. Allow them to bare their mind till the memories wane.

Read also: Different Questions You are Expected to Ask Your Mesothelioma Oncologist

Certain phrases should not be used for someone who is grieving

Unfortunately, the words which should not be said are the ones that come to the mind of some people when they try to sympathize with someone who is grieving. When trying to comfort someone who is grieving, distant yourself from the following phrases because they cause more harm than good:

  • ‘He/she is in a better place’
  • ‘Think more about the blessings in your life’
  • ‘It’s been a while he/she died. Get over it’
  • ‘Cherish the wonderful memories’
  • ‘Pull yourself together for the sake of your kids’

Put yourself in the position of the griever

It is true that words that can bring solace to one person may not particularly work for another because of individual differences. However, try and put yourself in the position of the griever and try some of the words you want to say to them on yourself. If it does not make you feel better, chances that it will not for them either.

Read also: How Mesothelioma Caregivers can Cope with the Stress

Article highlights

  • Asbestos is a predisposing risk to mesothelioma.
  • Cancer treatment is in the form of palliative.
  • Picking the right word to console someone that has lost a loved one is not always easy.
  • Some phrases have been generally adopted by people when sympathizing.
  • It is better to show love than speak words.
  • Staying around is more comforting than just saying words.
  • Always allow the griever to initiate a conversation.
  • It is wrong to assume you know exactly how someone feels.
  • Allow the griever to talk about their loss.
  • Different words will have different effect on different people.

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