Robbie Miller Kaplan
  • Oakton, Virginia
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Comforting Words - When You Don't Know What to Say

Robbie Miller Kaplan

Robbie has traveled an interesting road to becoming a successful author. When she started writing career books, she had no idea she would eventually write about loss and grief. It's her personal experience and desire to make a difference in the lives of those grieving a loss that motivated her to write How to Say It When You Don’t Know What to Say.


Robbie writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. It's Robbie’s goal to help her readers communicate effectively when their loved ones, neighbors, colleagues, and community members face difficult times. Her book is now available in e-book and print for Illness & Death, Suicide, and Miscarriage and e-books on Death of a Child, Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby, Pet Loss, Caregiver Responsibilities, Divorce and Job Loss. All publications are available in Amazon's Kindle Store.


Visit Robbie's website at or follow her on Twitter @How2SayIt.

Robbie Miller Kaplan's Blog

How to Help During a Natural Disaster

Posted on August 31, 2017 at 10:00am 0 Comments

With Hurricane Harvey and vast flooding dominating the news, it’s easy to feel helpless in the wake of such personal tragedy. In this technology-driven world, we’re witnessing breaking news; reading, seeing and hearing first-hand how these disasters personally impact individuals and communities. Who can forget the faces of the heroes, carrying children through the flooded…


Should You Respond to Inappropriate Comments?

Posted on August 11, 2017 at 6:30am 1 Comment

The bereaved report that they are frequently subjected to insensitive comments following a death. It’s not as if someone deliberately wants to hurt the bereaved; inappropriate statements appear to stem from a discomfort with the concept of death and individuals who genuinely are at a loss for words.…


Living Life With No Regrets

Posted on August 3, 2017 at 11:30am 0 Comments

It’s not uncommon for those bereaved to feel regret. While anyone bereaved can feel regret, children and young adults can be particularly vulnerable. They have less experience with life and death and have yet to understand how fragile life can be. Regret is a deep sadness over what we perceive as missed opportunity and it’s the last thing we want to feel when a loved one…


When a Bereaved Spouse Remarries

Posted on July 20, 2017 at 5:00am 4 Comments

Have you heard that Patton Oswalt is engaged? Widowed fifteen months, he has found love again and plans to remarry. The media is aflutter with a bevy of congratulations and support along with criticism that he did not grieve long enough. How do you judge, or should you even judge, how long a bereaved spouse should grieve? Is one year satisfactory? Eighteen months? Or will only…


Life After You - Will Your Loved Ones Be Prepared?

Posted on July 10, 2017 at 6:00pm 0 Comments

My mother was a wise woman and a wonderful teacher. While we shared a lifetime of learning, it was not until her death that I realized she forgot one important lesson: She never told me how to live without her.

I’m not alone. Even though the death of a parent is the natural order of things, everyone I know has struggled with the death of a parent. Whether…


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At 12:43pm on February 17, 2017, Barbara Rieger said…

Hi Robbie,

I just read your post and thought I'd add a few of my own thoughts. My son an only child was bid farewell going on 7 years this April 2017.

I will only tell you a couple of things such as I cried and screamed as loud as my voice allowed me. I've learned to say that I dislike some people merely by some of the insensitive and selfish comments they made to me. I am a very friendly person and I would meet people easily while shopping in food stores and other places. I would show my son Joe's photo because it was uplifting for me to hear. However, I had alone time when I would sit down to write a monthly article for my garden club to attract new members. I placed the photos I took to coincide with my articles in about 4 newspapers and 1 local television shows. I had the support of the founder of the garden club and I didn't share it with anyone. Until the president of the club telephoned me about something and heard something in my voice. Then she asked me what was wrong and I told her. I didn't tell the senior center that I spent lots of time at and knew and still know many members there. After the farewell on a Monday after Easter my husband and I took a couple of flower arrangements to the senior center. The next day was a special outdoor memorial dedicating a plague etc for the 49 year old director of age who had retired after a party. That Thursday I had attended my meeting and a man had my article in his hand when he came over to me and gave me a teddy bear hug. He told me what a member said about my son who had his farewell just a few days previous. I was busy then as membership chair, publicity in the garden club. It's still difficult at times especially since my mother passing 4 years ago and my dad and brother before my son. I do have a husband that loves me; yet there is a lot left to be desired in this marriage. I also became an advisor in the senior center and continued to be involved in the garden club. I've kept my positions as membership chair and publicity. In May 2016 I was installed as president of the garden club and also took on doing programs for the club and did the year-book during the entire summer. I was told by someone from another club at a Christmas part that I was going to burn out. I don't think so it helps me to have a passion to do things that I have qualifications to do. It's rather difficult to get members to easily accept ideas I have. I produced a program and one member followed my directions; I wanted her to shine and she did. Another member didn't follow my directions and she stood in front of the group with her back facing the group holding a book up while reading then turning her head to the group. I should have realized I made a mistake asking her when I invited her to be part of a program with 7 ladies that when she said "I don'twant to be a public speaker!" I have so many people in my life who dumped their issues on me as I may make some feel too comfortable. This morning I laid down in bed and spoke out loud I felt. There are so many wonderful things that have occurred in my life during this summer regardless of all the time I've put into the garden club duties I've imposed on my life.  I have had a great time regardless of the melt down I have had due to the loss of my son Joe who was 42 years young with a life-time that he has lived on this planet. His favorite entertainer was Elvis and I asked him on his wall on Face-book if he had the opportunity to meet Elvis yet. His friends that I only came in contact with at Joe's farewell and his high school and fraternity brothers still come on and post words to Joe. I had no idea how loved and how popular my son was and still is. His life has been and still is relevant in so many peoples lives. In fact one young woman joined the garden club this September at our first meeting. I came to realize and found her high school photo right next to my Joe's photo in the year book. She told me they never spoke but I kn

At 10:34pm on August 4, 2014, georgia said…
Hi Robbie,how I wish I could send your successions as what to say to a grieving person,to a few uncaring and selfish people that I thought understood what Iam going through .
I wish people get it in their head that grieving has NO expiration date.
Some how people think once a year has passed ,you should be your old self.Guess what people ,,,,you will never be your
old self .
At 10:09am on May 18, 2014, Barbara Maier said…
Thank you Robbie, reading your site, was very helpful. Lost my husband in March, my best friend my soul mate my everything. Life seems so meaningless without him. Friend and family, try to do their best to comfort me, but you are so right to say that what they say does not help. Yes, all the classics that you mention. It's going to be a long road for me, I hope at some point I come come to some acceptance. For now I'm just going through the motions. Facing each day is a struggle. I always prided my self as a strong women, raising 3 kids, running a business, and facing each challange head on, but this by far is the hardest ever. Trying hard to hang tough, thanks for your advice
At 7:20pm on December 28, 2011, Shirley Gutierrez said…

Dear Robbie,

I too have lost 2 of my 3 daughters (to cancer.) My youngest Lisa, died Aug. ll, 2009. My oldest, Linda died 7 months later on March 1, 2010. The first & second holiday seasons were very difficult but I believe this one (2011) has been the worst. I have asked myself many times, "why my daughters, why 2 of them" as if there were a reason & if there were a reason, would it make any difference, would it bring them back. Life goes on in spite of us.

Sincerely, Shirley Gutierrez

At 4:34pm on December 5, 2011, Vicki Blue Brinker said…

Thank you for responding.  It is nice to know there are people who care & want to help.  Blessings, Vicki Blue

At 1:47pm on May 10, 2011, Carl Mathis said…

Hey Robbie, just stopping by to say be encourage, You are in my prayers, be bless and have a wonderful day.


At 6:45am on August 25, 2010, Lee Beck said…
Thanks for your help. I feel very uncomfortable when dealing with someone's grief. Because of this, I generally avoid contact with them. I'm trying to learn more about ways to minimize their pain. Your expertise will help.
At 8:42am on June 11, 2010, Gaye Bowman said…
I was so touched by your article Lessons Learned from My Dad and I would really like to share this with my daughters. Howeverf I am not too computer savy and cannot seem to forward this to them. Do you have a suggestion ow I can do this? Thanks and God bless

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