Platitudes are never helpful when it comes to deep grief. This article is a needed attempt to explain why phrases like “I can’t imagine" can feel dismissive and isolating to grieving people. That may hurt your feelings but I personally would take that risk to spare another grieving parent, spouse, sibling or friend another ounce of heartache.

We hear “I ‘won’t’ imagine your pain. It is yours to bear alone.” And, I guess that’s fine that not everyone has the patience and empathy to sit with us in our pain. Not everyone is able to do this, but this causes real hurt. If you want to avoid causing that hurt, then you absolutely need to be more thoughtful about what you say to a grieving person. I really appreciate this piece and feel that the author’s intent came from a place of compassion.

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Occasional poet. Writer of sad essays. Novelist. Birder and amateur photographer. I enjoy trees.

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