Trevor Hayley


Funeral and Life Memorial Celebrant

A Caring Presence for you and your family so you can Celebrate a Life

Servicing Greater Adelaide, Fleurieu, South Coast and Adelaide Hills Regions of South Australia



Sometimes it is OK to be Silent

Grief and how to help #2

Recently you attended the funeral of a close friend, and in the lounge, you wanted to show your support for the partner, but you felt uncomfortable at the time to do so. You thought to yourself at the time “It is probably too much today. I will catch up with them later, when it is not so stressful.” You had been putting off making contact, and have talked yourself out of doing so on a number of occasions, but the time has come and you are compelled to do so. You make the call. The partner would love a visit. What do you do, what do you say?

We all know how uncomfortable, death and grief can be. We just wish for it all to be over, but as I have shared in previous posts, the grief journey for the one who has lost someone is just beginning, and one of the biggest challenges is loneliness and isolation. In the initial stages of conversation it is usually OK, when shared sensitively, to say “how truly sorry I am for your loss” as this may be the most acute feeling they are having. That shows that you are not afraid to be in the ‘uncomfortableness.’

You have made a start, but what do you do now? Well there are no straight answers to that question, as everyone’s grief journey is quite individual and very unique, and so there is no formula. But you are there. Although it may not be shown, the person may be appreciative that you are there with them, an extra person in the room. You could talk about memories, and it is certainly OK to talk about the deceased person as if they were in the room.

But in our desperation to try and fill in the gap with some words, sometimes silence is the best answer. Not a silence that is uncomfortable, but a silence that might even say “I am not quite sure of the words right now, but is it OK for me just to sit with you.” They may say “Perhaps not” and that would be the time to politely and sensitively withdraw yourself, and maybe in a week’s time follow them up again.

But they might invite you to stay. Be comfortable in the silence, and over time the vibe in the room may soften somewhat, and words may come naturally out. Be ready to listen, no just with your ears, but with your whole being. You have been brave, and to be invited to stay, means that they person is comfortable to share their grief with you. A precious thing indeed.

To conclude, just a warning to keep everyone safe. Watch the male/female thing. All sorts of things can happen in vulnerable situations, and those things probably should not. It is not helpful, and is harmful to the grief journey.

The commentary in this blog is intended to be general in nature. It is just some observations from one fellow traveller in life to another. If anything in this blog raises issues for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or consult with a trusted medical professional.

Photo by James Hose Jr on Unsplash


Trevor Hayley
Servicing Greater Adelaide and Regional South Australia

Phone: 0409 107 372


ABN 73 737 609 724

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