Speak their name

When you ask about someone who died by name, you are honoring the life they lived.

"I wish more people would ask me about him." - Steve Bolich. Image of a man with glasses looking thoughtful with his head resting on his hand.

Find more shareable images on Instagram

One of the greatest heartaches for a grieving person can be the fear that their loved one will be forgotten. When you ask about someone who has died by name, you are honoring the life they lived.

Most people tend to talk about death by naming the relationship. “My dad died.” “My cousin died.” “My wife died.” Giving a griever the opportunity to say their name out loud is a very powerful gift.

You won’t be reminding them that their loved one died. By saying or asking their name, you create an opportunity for the griever to talk about them and share stories and memories. If you don’t know it already, ask what their name was. If you know their name, continue to use it. Ask the griever to share a favorite memory of their loved one.

Oftentimes, there is a fear that talking about the deceased person or talking about the fact that they died will make the grieving person more upset, but we know that, actually, that's not true, that it often feels really validating and comforting to have someone bring up the topic of the death, because inevitably, the grieving person is thinking about the person who died, so it actually can be really helpful to bring that up and talk about it openly.