View from a butterfly cut-out, Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Miranda Hernandez)
View from a butterfly cut-out, Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Miranda Hernandez)

Adrian’s Elephant Official Comment Policy, aka Things Not to Say To or About a Bereaved Parent

Miranda's Blog

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Grief is awkward, and so when we encounter someone in grief, we often feel the need to say something—anything at all—just to fill the void. These things are almost always said with good intentions, and so often grievers are asked to understand these intentions when words fall short. We certainly try. We appreciate your love so much.

But if you want to know the things that grievers don’t want to hear; the things that are actively hurtful in our lives, below is a short list. These items are prohibited in comments on this site, and given any choice at all, these are words I would like to never hear or read:

  • Comments indicating you haven’t read the whole story or post
  • Any version of “be grateful,” “be thankful,” “count your blessings,” or “at least”
  • Personal attacks or comments that are unnecessary or unkind
  • Any variation of “you have to…” or “you should…”
  • Anything stating or implying a parent is responsible for their child’s death
  • Grief comparisons or any version of “I know how you feel”
  • Any form of invalidation of a bereaved parents’ feelings
  • Any form of unsolicited advice, no matter how well-intentioned
  • Asking a bereaved parent when or if they will “try again”, and/or suggesting they need to have a subsequent child
  • Unsolicited prayers
  • Comments including the words “angel,” “rainbow,” “heaven,” or any sort of higher power in relation to anyone’s child but your own
  • Statements to the effect that any events were destined, foreordained, or meant to be, with a special prohibition on the phrase “Everything happens for a reason”
  • Any version of the phrase “get over,” “move past,” or “move on” in reference to anyone but yourself
  • The words “strong,” “brave,” or “healing” in reference to anyone but yourself

Thank you for being here.

Related Posts:

Resources for Friends and Family Supporting Loved Ones after the Loss of a Child
Notes for the Support Team: Words Matter

Featured in:

Miranda’s Blog has been featured in Scary Mommy, Pregnancy After Loss Support Magazine, Love What Matters, Up Journey, and Pursue Today. You can also find her on Quora and Medium.

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