A Ministry of Care by Dr. Daniel G. Bagby

Pastoral Care Guidance for Deacons, Stephen Ministers, and the Congregation of River Road Church, Baptist

When Someone Has Lost a Loved One: What to Say, What not to Say, What Helps

  1. Don’t say: “Please don’t cry!” Tears release the pain & stress. It’s a trust.
  2. Don’t give unsolicited advice—especially on what to feel or how to feel.
  3. Don’t remind the survivor of the deceased’s faults.
  4. Don’t say, “It’s all in God’s plan.” How do you know what God wanted?
  5. Don’t avoid the survivors because you do not know what to say. Listen.
  6. Let them say, “I’m glad she’s no longer suffering,” first.
  7. Don’t say, “It’s time to get on with your life. Move on,” or “get over it.”
  8. Avoid criticizing or judging.
  9. Don’t interrupt a survivor when they start talking about death/loss.
  10. Don’t say, “I know how you feel”—unless you’ve had the same loss!