Consoling 101: Be Kind, Understanding

Mar 19 , 2022
By Eden Sahle ( Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at )

Over the past few months, as much as my father's death crushed me, what many people said was saddening over how many inconsiderate statements people make. It is unbelievable what comes out of the mouths of our closest allies, relatives, and acquaintances.

Many told me they understood my pain and compared it with the day-to-day hassle of life and work. A very close person told me about his anger with me because I am not rejoicing my father’s departure to heaven. Most said if I simply stop feeling negative and be positive, every pain will cease to exist.

Some said they were surprised that such intense grief is expressed for a father, as opposed to a mother. Few questioned why I love my father so deeply and what led me to have a strong relationship with him because they do not share the same experience.

Few said going around restaurants and exploring meals is all I need to forget my pain. Senior people said I should find a reason to get angry with my father to recover from my grief. Others said I should get over my grief over the loss of my beloved father and focus on my wedding and have a good time. They said I am destroying my looks, grieving so much. I should not feel sad and should stop crying because I am a bride to be, they claimed.

Brazen people even tried to use humour over my emotional agony. They said there must be a good reason for my grief that I will find out eventually and be glad about it, and even claimed that my father was not chosen to celebrate my wedding.

People who should have understood my grief said how I am changing has affected them, souring their mood and day. Some told me their frustration because I was not consoled after they tried to comfort me. They shared their random daily stories and expected me to get comforted.

It was excruciating to listen to many people’s harsh statements as if death would not touch them or their loved ones. They were judgmental, telling me how to feel and act, disregarding my exhaustive grief. In fact, listening to what people say during their visitations was one of the reasons I wanted to isolate myself, as I could not bear to hear the nonsense statements they were throwing at me.

People should realise that what they say, good or bad, can leave a lasting imprint on the mind and heart of a grieving person. It took me several weeks to forgive many individuals who have been nothing but hurtful. They ignore the fact that nothing anyone can say will cheer a grieving person up. It is better to kindly acknowledge that the situation is awful and validate the grief.

If one has not experienced the grief of losing a family member, never assume to know what a person may be going through, only mention that it is indeed hard. If we want to support, give a hug, listen without judging and genuinely care for the grieving person.

Unlike what people say, time does not heal anything; only taking the right step helps us get better by the day. I have not heard seniors or young people telling me the steps I can take to heal, allowing myself to express my painful feelings. Rather they scared me that my deepest grief would only take away my other family members or bring other bad things to me.

I have learnt that those who can help bring perspective, which often gets lost during emotional crises, come very rarely. People teach us to block our feelings, leading us to more damaging behaviours. But such things should make us mindful of what we are experiencing from moment to moment, staying connected to ourselves if what people say is not beneficial.

I learnt to hold on to helpful advice clearing the rest from my mind. Some people told me my intense grief reminds them of how much I love and miss my father, and that he is right there with me in spirit. These people listen to me without judgement.

On many occasions, we all can be called on to demonstrate comfort and support for someone who has lost a loved one. To some, this may sound like an obscure thing. But unavoidably, we all go through the experience of pain and anguish of loss, whether it is family, friends, or neighbours. We will not get out of this life unhurt. Nonetheless, we can never go wrong with being kind, considerate, and caring in our statements.

PUBLISHED ON Mar 19,2022 [ VOL 22 , NO 1142]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at

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