What to Say to Someone who has lost their loved one?

It’s very normal not to know what to say to a friend or family member when they have lost a loved one. We have a feeling that we need to find the right words and want to help them, however, we are worried about getting it wrong and saying the wrong thing.

We all want to show support, share some compassionate words to the person grieving. We know a few kinds of words can go a long way. Knowing what to say is important and can really depend on your relationship to the family and the deceased.

If you are unsure of what to say, there are a few good places to start.

  • “My deepest sympathies for your loss.”
  • “I am so sorry for your loss.”
  • “My heart goes out to you and the family.”
  • “I’m here, if you need me and need to talk.”
  • “If you need anything I’m here.”

Anything along these lines will mean a lot to a grieving person. They may be feeling very overwhelmed, so to hear any condolences or words of comfort from friends and family can help them feel less alone in their grief. The simple fact of reaching out can mean the world to anyone who is dealing with grief.

When someone is dealing with loss, they may not want to ask for help or feel like a burden to anyone, they often will feel alone. This is why it can be so important to reach out to them with a call, a text, or an email. A phone call or text can be a helpful way to reach out to the individual and express your sympathies without making the individual feel overwhelmed.

Grief is highly personal and each person deals with it in their own way. Checking in or reaching out can let them know you are there for them and when they are ready to talk, they know you are sincere. Grief can be a long process and just letting someone know you are there for them will make all the difference.

A text conversation or phone call can make such a difference to a friend or family member who is dealing with loss. The words do not need to perfect; sincerity at a time like this is the most important thing when offering condolences.

Knowing what not to say is helpful. Although we might want to be helpful, it’s important to know what not to say to avoid causing harm or hurt. Even though we might mean well, these words can be less than helpful to someone dealing with grief.

  • “Be brave / Stay strong.”
  • “I know how you feel.”
  • “Everything happens for a reason.”
  • “At least they lived a long life.”
  • “They’re in a better place.”

Death and loss are not something we faced with often, so it is only natural to be hesitant when talking about it, especially to the bereaved. Sometimes just spending time being there to listen is enough for someone dealing with loss. To know they are not alone when mourning can provide a sense of comfort and ease some of their sadness.

Having the space to be able to talk openly about the person who has died, without fear of judgement, can be a helpful way to cope with grief.