Even if you have the best intentions, there are some things you should never, ever say.
We all need support. In dark days, we are at times in our collective lives that seem only to bring sadness and frustration in our movements.
You don't necessarily need to hew to tradition, but make sure you've thought it through before you respond to news of a loss so that your offerings, verbal and otherwise, are gracious and of service to another who is suffering. It's OK to even say, "I'm at a loss for words," and give a hug or squeeze a hand.
How many times had I been sitting at the bar not realizing the guy next to me was fighting his own battle? Or how about across the bar? Or the bartender? Or the guy making my pizza?
My story may have ended there, had it not been for a head on automobile collision I would have some 20 years later. I passed out on impact and was immediately enveloped by a warm bright light. As I moved towards the light I had the most euphoric feeling of love and inner peace that I had ever experienced.
Bearing witness to a deceased loved one is about doing whatever it takes for you to feel that you have done your part to preserve and honor his or her memory.
The initial aftermath of death is so often a flurry of activity. We have to let the flurry settle down before we can even self-talk sanely, let alone make conscious choices.