Grief & Sympathy
What do you say to console a bereaved family member?

“Our condolences” and “Please accept my heartfelt condolences on the passing of your father.”

Sure, those things are appropriate to say, and even need to be said. However, the bereaved will hear so many variations of condolences and sympathy that it will almost lose its meaning. Today, we’ll look at what the mourner is going through and how the reality of grief can influence the words of comfort you offer.

We’ll have plenty of sweet, heartwarming, and meaningful quotes at the end of the article for you to consider sharing at the appropriate time.

But first, consider this: Are your words truly capable of providing comfort to someone who is grieving?

Your bereaved friend or relative is going through a lot right now. The mourner must devote time and effort to the grieving process. Is there anything you can say that will make a difference?

Yes. Absolutely.

It might not appear so. You won’t be able to make their grief go away or provide an instant salve for their heart’s wounds. It’s possible that you won’t feel like your words have had any impact at all. But your words matter – a lot.

The grieving person has an internal monologue going on. It is very, very easy for that jumble of thoughts and questions to go downhill.

Why me? Why him/her?
I can’t go on.
Will I ever feel anything again?
I don’t want to do anything.
Is this normal?
I just want to die.
Am I messed up? I’m too emotional. (Or…) I’m not emotional enough.
Did this happen because of how messed up I am?

It will be very difficult for them to grieve properly, process their emotions, and begin to clear their heads and work through to a place of healing if the internal monologue is all they have.

Your words can help by transforming that monologue into a conversation. Outside input can help people break free from the cycles that lead to depression and stagnation.

What is the grieving person thinking and feeling right now?

Grief is an unpleasant sensation. Your grief and loss can be excruciating.

It’s been described as feeling as “being sliced in half” by some. You may feel as if a piece of yourself has been taken away from you. When someone you care about passes away, it is natural and natural to grieve and be hurt.

Some major emotions might be:

  • Anger. This might be anger to God, with your loved one, with yourself, or with the doctors. Why didn’t God intervene on your loved one’s behalf? Did you do everything possible to help your loved one? Why didn’t the doctors do more? These are all valid questions, and furthermore, it is “Ok” to be angry.
  • Loneliness. The loss of a spouse is devastating. You may not just be losing your spouse, but you may lose friendships as well. You may lose relationships with “couples.” You may also lose friendships with the spouse’s side of the family.
  • Regret. You may feel regret for all the time that you have lost with your loved one. The years that you planned for that will never happen.

It’s critical for you to understand as her friend that all of these emotions are normal and understandable.

What words of comfort are best for those thoughts and feelings?

What else can be said besides, “I love you, I am here for you, or it’s alright to feel that way?” Try one of these phrases.

For loneliness:

  • Can I come by and visit with you?
  • Let me take you to lunch (coffee, etc).
  • I’m turning off my phone’s “sleep” mode. Call me anytime, day or night.
  • I am going to come over and cook dinner for you.
  • Would you like to come to stay at our home for a few nights?

When your friend or loved one needs support:

  • I don’t know how you feel, but I am here to help you in any way I can.
  • I am grieving with you.
  • How can I help you? Let me know what you need.
  • Take all the time you need.
  • I am out running errands. Can I do anything for you? Pick up groceries, pick up your kids or even run to the post office?
What are some things that someone grieving the loss of a loved one does not want to hear?

Please, be considerate when talking to someone who is grieving.

Don’t say:

  • I know how you feel.
  • When I lost my….
  • Stop crying.
  • They are in a better place.
  • God needed another angel in heaven.
  • Buck up! Chin up!
  • You should be over this by now.
  • You’ll feel better.
  • Time heals all wounds.
  • You’re young. You can remarry.
  • You can always have another child.
  • It was “just” a cat/dog.
What are some things you can do to comfort someone who lost a loved one?

When there are no words to say, what else can you do?

Offer a hug, a warm hand to hold, or simple eye contact and a listening ear. All of these actions can speak volumes without any words being exchanged.

Be sincere in all you do towards a grief-stricken person. Emotions are heightened, and you do not want to offend them.

Share your favourite photos of their loved ones. If you have pictures on your phone, text them with a silly caption or a great memory.

Specific Words of Comfort

Comforting Text Messages
  • I am thinking of you.
  • I have no words… But I want you to know I love you and am here for you.
  • Holding you close in my thoughts and prayers.
  • I wish I could take your pain away.
  • Just wanted to share this photo of [name] with you. He had such a wonderful heart and I’ll miss him a ton. [Attach photo]
Words of Comfort for a Friend
  • Know that my prayers are covering you.
  • I am always here for you, no matter what or when.
  • Praying for you to have peace during this difficult time.
  • I know this is hard. I love you.
  • You can cry, talk, go have a nap, or be silent around me. I won’t be offended, I just want to support you.
Words of Comfort for Loss of a Family Member
  • He/she was so important to me. I already miss him/her.
  • Words can never express how sorry I am.
  • There was no one in the world like ___________.
  • God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 Thinking of you, dear friend!
  • [Name] was such a gem. I loved the way he would always joke around with us. I’m going to miss him. Grieving with you!
Words of Comfort for Loss of Mother
  • The world will be a lonelier place without your mom.
  • Your mom was one of the most beautiful people I have ever known.
  • Your mother was a true friend. I will never forget her.
  • What an amazing woman. I can’t imagine your grief. I’ll miss her too. Know that I love you and am thinking of you!
Words of Comfort for Loss of Father
  • Your father was like a second dad to me. He will be greatly missed.
  • There will never be another man quite like your dad.
  • Your father always made everyone feel welcome and loved. He was a friend to all.
  • The world lost a true man today. I’m praying that the Lord will comfort you as you mourn your father.
Words of Comfort for Loss of a Child
  • I am thinking of you during this difficult time.
  • Nothing can express the amount of pain you are feeling. Just know that I am praying for the “peace that passes understanding” to be over you and your family.
  • We will never forget __________. He/she brought joy everywhere they went.
  • My heart aches for you and with you. I’m thinking of you today and grieving alongside you.
Words of Comfort in the Bible

Psalm 34:18 – The LORD is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 147:3 – He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.

Matthew 5:4 – Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 – Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

Finding the right words to offer comfort can be tricky. More than anything, show your grieving friend that you care.

Show them support and understanding at this challenging time. You might feel like you have the right words to say, but you can certainly do the most important thing: Just show up.

Remember, not everything needs to be spoken. A simple gesture can speak so much. Being there is what matters.

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