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What To Say Or Do For Someone Who Is Grieving A Death

Updated on March 18, 2015

If someone you know just lost a loved one due to death, you may find it hard to know what to do or say. Any type of proper acknowledgement is usually appreciated. I have often had people ask me for advice on what to say to someone when they experience the death of a loved one. Here are some words you may want to say to someone who has just lost a loved one.

Sympathy Card

If you are planning on sending a sympathy card, there are some words that you may want to add to the card instead of just signing your name. If you are not religious and you do not pray, you can omit the words that involve prayer. Here are a few examples of what you can write in a sympathy card.

•"I am sorry for your loss."
•"I am thinking of you."
•"I am praying for you and your family."
•"You are in my thoughts and prayers."
•If you were familiar with the person who passed away, you may want to write a few of your own words about the deceased.

In Person

If you are in person and talking to the person whose loved one passed away, here are some words you may want to say.

•"If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know."
•"I am here for you."
•"I will keep in touch to see how you are doing."
•"I remember when (insert deceased's name here)....You may want to share a memory you had of the deceased.

When The Death Was Sudden

Dealing with any kind of death can be a very painful experience. Sometimes deaths happen unexpectedly. This may cause great pain to the family and friends of the deceased. A sudden death may have happened due to an accident or a homicide. Here are some things you can say to someone who has experienced the loss of a loved one through sudden death.

•"I am so sorry for your loss."
•"I am sorry to hear what happened."
•"I can not even imagine what you are going through."
•"If you need to talk, I am here."
•"It is okay to (insert word) examples: feel angry, be upset, feel lost, to mourn


Saying that you are sorry for the loss of their loved one may just be enough. If the person responds and begins talking, make sure to listen and give them your undivided attention. You could just give the person a hug instead of saying anything. You may also want to do something helpful for the grieving person or family. Sometimes actions speak louder than words. Here are some things you can do to help a grieving person.

•Help with funeral arrangements.
•Lend a hand with errands and household chores.
•Cook them a meal.
•Offer to drive them somewhere they need to go.
•Babysit, if they have any small children.
•Send them a gift, such as a gift basket of food.
•Listen to them by visiting and/or calling them to see how they are doing.


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