A Grief Support Blog

This blog will allow you the opportunity to acquire both support and guidance after experiencing a significant loss.

The 27 Worst Things to Say to Widows and Widowers

Widow widower grief loss spoue comfort what to say

Do you struggle with consoling a loved one who lost their spouse?

If so, you’re not alone. It's not easy finding the right words when trying to comfort a widow or widower, especially if you were never taught. 


After extensive research spanning 45 years, we discovered that out of 141 statements a widow or widower may hear post-loss, only 19 prove helpful. Most comments widows and widowers receive are not only unhelpful but even hurtful. 


If you’ve experienced a painful loss, you know it’s true. Isn't it baffling that our society fails to teach us how to support broken-hearted loved ones? From high school to grad school, how to offer emotional support is absent from the curriculum. Instead, we rely on well-meaning but misguided advice from friends and movies. Consequently, we unintentionally intellectualize grief instead of embracing that it’s about a broken heart. So don't fret if you're lost for words - most people don’t know what to say.


So, what painful comments do widows and widowers often hear amidst their pain?


  • Don’t feel bad. You’re young and can remarry.
  • Be grateful for the many years you were married.
  • You weren’t married long; it would have been worse if you had been married longer.
  • Time heals all wounds.
  • Your husband wouldn’t want you to be sad.
  • Let’s celebrate her life and not focus on your pain.
  • You just need a distraction.
  • Why aren’t you over it by now? It’s been X amount of time.
  • Throw away all of his belongings so you don’t have any reminders.
  • Be sure not to throw away any of her belongings because you might regret it.
  • You just have to jump back in the saddle.
  • Stay strong for your kids.
  • It’s time to move forward and go on with your life.
  • Everything happens for a reason.
  • Just give it time.
  • You will never get over the death of your husband/wife.
  • Grief is your new normal.
  • God needed another angel in heaven.
  • At least she is no longer suffering.
  • Focus on your workout routine.
  • Throw yourself into work.
  • You should move.
  • You should never move.
  • Grieving doesn’t honor his memory.
  • She is at peace now.
  • I know exactly how you feel.
  • Heaven needed him more.


Why are these common phrases hurtful?


Losing a partner is heart-wrenching. Widows and widowers can’t simply snap out of heartache because they heard a piece of advice. No one has ever thought, “Oh yeah. They told me I shouldn't cry, so now I’m not sad anymore.” Instead, they fight back tears, thinking they shouldn't cry and that something is wrong with them.


Emotional pain is about healing a broken heart - not a broken brain. Many of these comments are logical. For example, if a husband dies after years of a painful illness, such as cancer, although it is logically valid that he is no longer in pain, and although the wife may feel a sense of relief about that, she is still going to be broken-hearted after her life partner dies. 


Remember that having a supportive person can make all the difference in their healing journey. 



Stay tuned for our next article on how to offer help to a widow or widower. In the meantime, check out some of our other captivating blogs or download


The Grief Recovery Method Guide for Loss Ebook for free. 


The Death Of A Spouse

14 Things You Should (and Should Not) Say to Widows and Widowers

Get Over It! (and other bits of unhelpful advice)


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