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Consoling Someone Close to You When Murder Takes a Life


Bereavement Relief

Posted On: Feb 15, 2017

Consoling Someone Close to You When Murder Takes a Life

No one wants to think about losing someone to murder. Nobody wants to talk about it, either, and many of us don't even know how to begin. Hope and pray that murder never touches your life, but in the event that it does, it is crucial to know how to approach the bereaved. Comforting someone who has lost a loved one to violence is delicate. It is deserving of both tact and compassion. The advice presented here applies to your behavior at the wake, the funeral, or at the home of the grieving person or family. If this type of tragedy touches anyone in your life, it is first and foremost vital to see them face-to-face.

Don't Ask Questions

This is crucial. Unless you are extremely close to the survivor(s) and/or were close to the victim, do not ask any questions about the heartbreaking event. No matter how close you are, it is not appropriate to talk about these types of things in public, so avoid bringing up anything related to the murder at either the viewing or the burial.

Don't Play Detective

Regardless of your relationship with the deceased or the bereaved, it's inappropriate to guess the motive of the homicide, the circumstances, or any other details surrounding the subject. Likewise, avoid the topic of the police, any investigations, or any legal matters. Again, it is not the time. Let the survivor(s) talk to you if and when they want to discuss it. They may never want to talk about it. That's entirely up to them. As a loved one and supporter, it's your job to respect that.

Frame the Conversation around the Victim

As you offer words of comfort and sentiments of compassion, avoid any conjecture about the victim at all. Speak of the person you knew. Let the survivors know that you recognize that there's no adequate way to describe how devastating this is. Admitting that their grief is unique and incomprehensible is a better route to take than traditional, meaningless cliches. Instead, offer your prayers, share your love for and memories of the deceased, and acknowledge the tragedy of the situation.

Offer to listen or to simply be a presence anytime it's needed, as well. The bereaved who lose a loved one to murder are often wrought with tension, anxiety, and shock at the sudden, senseless destruction of their lives. Calming, loving, and accepting friends and family members who can show support even if it means staying quiet – survivors need those people.