When someone passes away, it can be challenging to know what to say to those grieving. While everyone grieves differently, sometimes it’s complicated or awkward for those trying to provide comfort to someone in the process of grieving.
Here are a few simple things to say to someone who lost a loved one to help them feel supported and heard.
Reassure Them That Their Emotions Are Valid
People who are grieving can experience a range of emotions from shock to sadness to numbness. If they open up to you about their feelings, be open to their feelings and accept whatever comes through. Reassure them to let them know it is OK to feel the way they’re feeling and that there is no “right” way to grieve.
Offer Space To Express Their Feelings
Many bereaved people appreciate a chance to speak freely about their thoughts and feelings. Starting the conversation with, “How are you today?” opens the door for them to talk about what’s on their mind if they’re so inclined.
If you know the person who is grieving well, you could directly ask them, “Do you want to talk about it?”. Remind them that you’re here if they need a listening ear.
Also, sometimes it’s best to not say anything at all and instead allow them to take the lead and guide the interaction. Just be a listening ear and a comforting friend.
Ask if There Is Anything They Need
If they can’t find the words or aren’t interested in venting, ask them if there is anything they need, and let them know you’re here to support them. If they seem unsure, try to suggest specific items, like cooking their favorite meal or helping around the house—laundry, dishes, etc.
Tell Them You Are Thinking of Them
Sending someone experiencing grief a simple “I’m thinking of you” message will show them that they do not have to cope alone. You may not be able to change the situation, but sending that message will let your friend know you care about them and their feelings.
Share a Funny Memory
If you knew the person who passed away, you could share a funny memory or express what they meant to you. Sharing positive moments will deviate the conversation from one of pain and sadness to celebrating the memories they left behind. Reminiscing is one way to preserve the memory of a lost loved one.
Knowing what to say to someone who is grieving is not always easy. Finding the appropriate ways to comfort them in a vulnerable time can be difficult, especially if you haven’t experienced what they are feeling. Use any of these suggested things to say to someone who lost a loved one to bring your friend much-needed comfort.