The concept of death is such a mystery that mankind throughout the ages has sought to create a viable and confirmed explanation of what actually happens. So far, we have been wildly unsuccessful but the concept of death or more truthfully what happens after you die has made for some pretty good artistic fodder.

Oh sure you can lean on the tried and true explanations that are found in many of our world's grand religions or you can believe as I do, that death happens just like it did in the Warren Beatty movie Heaven Can Wait. 

In that movie, Beatty plays an NFL quarterback who is killed by mistake. The powers that be in the afterlife have to correct that mistake and find him a new body to host his soul. Hilarity ensues and you'll hear some of the worst saxophone playings in your life if you watch the movie with the sound turned up.

But this article is less about the unliving and more about those that are left behind to grieve the loss. Grief is such a touchy subject. We all want others to reach out to us and help diminish our feelings of grief but what happens, even when people like you and I are attempting to heal, is we usually wind up hurting the bereaved even more.

One of the reasons I stopped attending funerals, well besides the long pants requirement, was the fact that I just had no idea what to say to those that are hurting because of an emotional loss. Unfortunately, it is in those times of attempting to provide comfort for the survivors that we utter the five words that should never ever be said at a funeral.

Rhodi Lopez via Unsplash.com
Rhodi Lopez via Unsplash.com
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Those well-intended words are meant to wrap around the suffering soul of the survivors and wrap them up in a cloak of kindness, however, when you think about it, the five words in question do a lot more harm than good.

What Are the 5 Words You Should Never Say at a Funeral?

They are quite simply, " I know how you feel". They seem innocent enough. And for a lot of us, we may have been in a similar bereavement scenario. Maybe we too lost a family member, good friend, co-worker, just as the bereaved have done but that still doesn't mean "we know how they feel". We just don't.

The mere utterance of those words diminishes the feelings of the newly bereaved. Even if the person we are comforting has told us in great detail about the relationship they had with the dearly departed there is no way we can accurately internalize their feelings of loss.

Fans Of Soul Legend Aretha Franklin Pay Their Respects As Her Body Lies In Repose In Detroit
Scott Olson, Getty Images
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Death is personal. It's something that we all have to deal with in our own unique way. So, please remember your advice and stories are not needed unless they are requested. In fact, the best thing that you can do for someone that has suffered a loss is to simply let them know that you are there for them. That's really all they need to hear because it's all they can realistically process at the time.

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