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What to Say to Someone Who’s Grieving

When offering condolences, it can be hard to find the right words to use to let someone know that you care and that they are not alone. Sometimes, you don’t have to say anything at all – just be there, give the griever your full attention, and offer a hug. Don’t underestimate the power of your physical presence and a patient ear.

But what can you say to someone who’s experiencing so much pain? If you’re not sure what to say when comforting a grieving person, we’ve listed some phrases to help guide your dialogue.

Helpful words to express your condolences to those facing grief and loss

I can’t imagine what you are feeling or going through, but I am so sorry for your loss.

While it can be uncomfortable for some people to acknowledge the deceased person because they don’t know exactly what words to use or because they are afraid of reminding the mourner of their loss, it’s important not to ignore or avoid the situation. It’s important that grievers know you care about their pain and their loved ones.

Please know, I am here for you – I’ll call you tomorrow and we can talk if you feel up to it.

It’s best to let the grieving person know that you are there for them, and then immediately follow your statement with an action. People often tell mourners they are “here for you.” But supporting them with a follow-up action helps take the burden off them. It may be hard for a grieving person to call and ask for a shoulder to cry on or a patient listener – they may feel they are a burden on others. You taking the action allows them to be supported, but not have to think about reaching out for that support.

You and your loved one are in my thoughts. Your loved one was a wonderful person and is sorely missed.

If you knew the deceased, share a story about them. Grievers find comfort in memories about their loved ones – it reminds them that their loved ones will not be forgotten. And if the mourner cries as you’re talking, don’t worry. Tears are natural – just offer a hug or a hand squeeze.

I can’t imagine how painful it must be to lose someone you love so much.

It’s important not to minimize the loss of a griever’s loved one. Use words that show you empathize with their pain, even if you’ve never experienced such a loss.

When supporting a grieving person through words, it’s most important that the person knows they’re not alone and that their loved one will not be forgotten. When using these phrases, keep in mind saying the deceased’s name frequently helps the mourner keep their loved one’s memory alive.


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