*from my personal experience. Obviously everyone deals with things differently and maybe some readers will find this list a little touchy or over the top, but this is my perspective.
I know myself that sometimes it can be difficult to find the right words and, of course, 99% of the time aren’t said out of malice. But I think it makes it a little easier for everyone when you gain a different viewpoint.
1) OK so this one technically isn’t grieving but when I found out that there was only a matter of days, sometimes I would explain the situation to people when I was looking a little down or couldn’t come to events. The response, on a number of occasions, was (both in person and over the internet) ‘oh I’m sorry to hear that, hope he gets better soon :)’… clearly not understanding that that was the whole point – he wasn’t going to get better.
2) If the person that someone is grieving was old at the time of their passing, there’s a fine line between comforting someone with reminding them of all the good times they got to have…. and insinuating that they should get over it because ‘they were old anyway’. Hang on, scratch that. It’s not a fine line at all, you’ll know when you’ve crossed it.
3) This one depends on the kind of relationship you have but if you’re at least a little close to someone, don’t tell them ‘I’m going to give you some space’ and then not contact them for three months. Again, it’s not really a fine line and usually people don’t mind a check-in like ‘hey, hope you’re okay, if you need anything I’m here’.
4) Finally, if you do find that you haven’t heard from them for awhile, don’t message them condescendingly asking why they haven’t spoken to you. This is all about tone and there’s a huge difference between someone saying ‘hey I haven’t heard from you for awhile, hope you’ve been okay’ and ‘why haven’t you messaged me?’.
Tl;dr – Go with the flow and your instinct. Be there for the ones you love, that’s the best thing you can do.