1. "I’m sorry for your loss.” It’s so generic, it doesn’t touch the sides, it doesn’t cut it and I just want to scream ‘he’s not lost, he’s dead’. Just say things for what they are, it’s easier, and it feels more heartfelt.
2. “He’s watching over you!” I bloody hope not! I mean I know many have religion and believe in a heaven, but not everyone does and the thought of my husband watching me everyday doesn’t make me feel good, it’s strange and might stop me wanting to move forward or do anything different to what he would have wanted. Plus he might see that I load the dishwasher ‘wrong’ or tell me off for leaving filling up the car with petrol til the last minute.
3. “I bet you couldn’t get through this without your kids!” Er… I’d be just fine with or without my kids. If anything having grieving children around makes it a tad trickier to deal with my own grief, but no I wouldn’t have simply given up without them.
4. “And how are you?” with a head tilt and a pitying smile. I honestly don’t know how to answer that. It's a very nuanced answer and you (person who has said this) can't really handle it. Sometimes I’m great, sometimes I’m not, sometimes I cry, sometimes I laugh. Right at this particular moment I might be just fine, but your head tilting ‘how are you?’ has made me think about my dead husband.
5. “He’s in a better place, at least he’s not in pain!” One, YOU don’t know he was in pain. Two, you don’t know whether I believe in an after life and in my head a better place is here, with me. Don’t put your own ideas of life and death onto others, be sensitive to what they might believe.
Holly Matthews is a TV actress, award winning vlogger, positive Mindset coach to, speaker, Founder of The Happy Me Project online course & LIVE workshops and Mum of two girls. Her husband, Ross Blair, died from cancer in July 2017.