What to Say to Someone Who Lost a Loved One

What to Say to Someone Who Loses a Loved One

Losing a loved one is an incredibly difficult experience, and finding the right words to offer comfort can be challenging.

This blog post aims to provide empathetic and practical advice on what to say when someone is grieving. Drawing on the wisdom of top experts in the field, we will explore meaningful ways to support a grieving person.

Top 10 Grief Experts to Draw Inspiration From:

  1. Megan Devine - Author of "It's OK That You're Not OK"
  2. David Kessler - Co-author with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross of "On Grief and Grieving"
  3. Bessel van der Kilk, M.D. - Author of "The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
  4. Kate Bowler - Author of "Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved"
  5. Nora McInerny - Host of the podcast "Terrible, Thanks for Asking"
  6. Alan Wolfelt - Grief counselor and author of "Understanding Your Grief"
  7. Joan Didion - Author of "The Year of Magical Thinking"
  8. Sheryl Sandberg - Author of "Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy"
  9. Marianne Williamson - Author and spiritual leader
  10. Harold Ivan Smith - Grief expert and author of "Grieving the Death of a Mother"

How to Use Text Messaging to Comfort Someone Who Lost a Loved One 

While a phone call or face-to-face interaction is often best, there are times when a text message is the most practical way to reach out. Here’s how to offer comfort over text:

  1. Express Sympathy: “I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I’m thinking of you during this tough time.”
  2. Offer Support: “If you need to talk, I’m here for you anytime.”
  3. Share a Memory: “I remember when [loved ones name] did [specific thing]. It's one of my favorite memories.”
  4. Check In: “I'm thinking of you today. Is there anything you need right now?”
  5. Avoid Clichés : Phrases like “They’re in a better place” or “Everything happens for a reason” can feel dismissive. Stick to heartfelt and sincere messages.

If you're struggling with what to say when someone loses a loved one, why not let the experts do the heavy lifting?

Arrange for ongoing, expert text messages personalized to each individual's unique loss. Sign up and the recipient will start getting support right away.

How Do You Comfort Someone Who Lost a Loved One?

Comforting a grieving person involves more than just finding the right words; it’s about being present and offering a safe space for them to express their feelings. Here are some practical ways to offer comfort:

  1. Be Present : Sometimes, the best thing you can do is simply be there. Your presence can go a long way in providing comfort.
  2. Offer a Listening Ear : Allow the bereaved person to talk about their feelings and share memories of their loved one. Active listening without offering unsolicited advice is crucial.
  3. Send a Sympathy Card : A heartfelt condolence message can be a tangible way to show your support.
  4. Help with Everyday Tasks : Offering to assist with funeral arrangements or other daily tasks can alleviate some of the burden during this difficult time.
  5. Respect Their Grieving Process : Everyone grieves in their own way and at their own pace. Avoid giving advice on how they should feel or act.

What Is a Good Saying for Someone Who Lost a Loved One?

Finding the right thing to say can be difficult, but here are some comforting phrases that can offer solace:

  1. “I’m so sorry for your loss.” : This simple phrase acknowledges their pain without attempting to minimize it.
  2. “I’m here for you.” : Offering your support can provide a sense of stability and comfort.
  3. “You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.” : This can be particularly comforting for those with a belief system that values prayer.
  4. “I have such fond memories of [deceased person].” : Sharing a favorite memory can bring a moment of joy amidst the sorrow.
  5. “Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.” : Offering specific tasks can be more helpful than a generic offer of help.

What to Say to Someone When a Family Member Dies?

When a close friend or family member dies, the grief can be overwhelming. Here are some ways to offer support:

  1. Acknowledge Their Pain : “I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but I’m here for you.”
  2. Offer Practical Help : “Can I help with funeral arrangements or other tasks?”
  3. Validate Their Emotions : “It’s okay to feel whatever you’re feeling right now. There is no right way to grieve.”
  4. Be There for the Long Haul : Grief doesn’t have a time limit. Continue to offer support long after the funeral service is over.
  5. Avoid the Wrong Thing : Steer clear of phrases that might invalidate their feelings, such as “At least they lived a long life” or “They wouldn’t want you to be sad.”

Practical Ways to Support a Grieving Person

Beyond knowing what to say to someone who lost a loved one, there are many practical ways to support someone who is grieving. Consider these actions to make a meaningful difference:

  1. Provide Meals : Organize a meal train or bring over dinner to ease their burden.
  2. Help with Chores : Offer to clean their house, run errands, or take care of pets.
  3. Offer Childcare : If they have children, offer to babysit to give them some time to themselves.
  4. Check In Regularly : A quick text or phone call can remind them that they are not alone in their grief journey.
  5. Remember Important Dates : Mark anniversaries, birthdays, and other significant dates to show ongoing support.

When you're grieving, platitudes aren't actually helpful. You can't solve someone's grief, and there's nothing you can say that will take it away. The most supportive thing you can do is to be present and willing to bear witness to their pain.

Emily McDowell

Understanding the Grieving Process

Grief is a deeply personal and often non-linear process. Here’s what you need to know about the grieving process:

  1. Stages of Grief: Familiarize yourself with the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) but understand that not everyone experiences them in the same way.
  2. Respect Their Pace: There is no time limit on grief. Avoid putting pressure on them to move on.
  3. Encourage Professional Support: If their grief is affecting their mental health, gently suggest they seek support from a grief counselor or therapist.
  4. Be Patient: Grief can resurface unexpectedly. Be patient and understanding during these times.
  5. Create a Safe Space: Let them know that it’s okay to share their true feelings with you without fear of judgment.


Supporting a grieving person requires empathy, patience, and a willingness to be present during their difficult time. By drawing inspiration from experts in the field and using the right words, you can offer meaningful comfort and support to those who are navigating the painful journey of grief. Remember, the most important thing you can do is to be there for them, in whatever way they need.