Untimely death of someone presents one of the most difficult challenges of communication. As a friend, relative or acquaintance, we may be required to visit the family of the person, but words desert us. In fact, the tragedy may at times be so big that no words will help. Whatever we say may sound a mere formality and increase the pain of the family.
Some people find it so unusual not to speak that they start by asking how the death occurred, although the entire world might be aware of the facts. It does not seem right to force the bereaved to go through the trauma of narrating the unpleasant facts time and again just to satisfy the other person’s urge to strike up some conversation.
Some people come up with clichés like ‘It was God’s will, what can anyone do?’, ‘Why did God do this ?’ In most cases, such clichés can only sound superficial and irritate.
The best option, perhaps, is not to say anything at all. It is enough to be just around and see how we can be helpful to the family. We may just respond to whatever the bereaved has to say. If he is trying to come to terms with the tragedy by talking to himself, it is best not to interrupt the process.
There are situations when words fail to serve the purpose of communication. It may then be advisable not to trouble one’s vocal chords and be helpful by just being around.