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“When action meets compassion, lives change.”

~Dave Ramsey

Never Say These Six Things!


Well, it’s official.  The Heartlinks Grief Center Speakers Bureau has had our inaugural presentation.  Last Saturday, I had the honor to meet with the Family Hospice of Belleville Volunteer Group where I made the first presentation of what we hope will be many in Southwestern Illinois.  The topic was one a lot of you probably cringe when you hear and think, “I don’t want to hear about that!”  The topic is grief and how to talk about grief in ways that are helpful, not hurtful.

The purpose of the Heartlinks Speakers Bureau is to promote, in our little corner of the world in Southwestern Illinois, kind, generous and loving ways to care for those grieving. 

Diana Cuddeback, Heartlinks Director, has been out speaking to groups about Heartlinks for the 20 years we have been blessed to have the organization in our region.  She’s talked to many groups about the mission and what Heartlinks is and does.  This presentation is focused on fulfilling a part of Heartlinks Vision Statement:

“In Southwestern Illinois, Heartlinks will support a broader-base of grieving individuals to move from grief to growth through responsive support programs while also working to change the community’s perception of grief.”

The Vision Statement reflects the future hopes for the organization – to change the community’s perception of grief to be more accepted as a normal part and problem of living, not something to be talked about in hushed voices and avoided.

To do that, we believe the best thing we can do is to talk about what works and what doesn’t work when you are trying to support someone who is grieving.  It’s in that spirit that the information presented in our talk, “Never Say These Six Things – Well Meaning but Hurtful Expressions of Sympathy and What to Say and Do Instead” is offered.

The speakers all have personal experience with grief (like most people do) and talk about grief from their experience, but also from data and research on grieving and interactions with those grieving.  I shared the learnings that I was blessed to receive as I wrote, We Lost Her, the story of my family’s grief journey after the loss of our mother in 1970, with the attendees.  As I talked with the Family Hospice Volunteer Group Saturday, it became apparent they all had personal stories of their grief journeys, and I learned as much from them as I believe they did from me.

So, dear reader, what are the Six Things You Should Never Say?  In a nutshell, they are:

  1. “I know how you feel.”
  2. “It was just her time.”
  3. “Let me know if you need anything.”
  4. “What happened?”
  5. “At least….”
  6. “It’s long enough.”

I know this high level isn’t very helpful, so I’ll look forward to expanding on the meaning of each of these on this blog site in the weeks ahead.  If you have a group you’d like us to come and discuss the topic with please contact Lisa at the Heartlinks Grief Center offices at (618) 277-1800 or at

Be Blessed,


“We Grow Stronger Together”

Ellen Krohne, author of We Lost Her, available on 

Heartlinks Grief Center volunteer and Family Hospice board member

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