When someone you know loses a loved one, it’s not uncommon to be at a loss for words. Death in today’s society is still uncomfortable for many to talk about and is even considered inappropriate to some. However, if you are looking to comfort a grieving friend or relative, look within your heart because the answers are right there. Don’t try to cheer up a bereaved person, but focus on expressing compassion for his or her loss.
It’s easy to find a few words to express sympathy, but even easier to say the wrong thing without thinking. For starters, forget clichés or platitudes, as those don’t only sound insincere, but at times, pretentious or unsympathetic. Avoid phrases such as:
* She or he is in a better place
* I know how you feel
* Time heals all wounds
* It’s time to move on
* He or she is no longer suffering
* You have a beautiful angel in Heaven
* Don’t cry; he or she is now your guardian angel
* You will get over it and find love again (or have another child, etc)
Now, that you know what not to say, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find the right words. With a little thought, you can comfort a grieving friend or relative without the fear of saying the wrong thing. Some of the correct phrases to use include:
* I’m sorry
* Your loved one will be missed dearly
* What can I do for you?
* Your family is in my thoughts and prayers
* You have my sympathy
* Don’t worry about (fill in the blank); I will help where I can
* I care about (or love) you
If you are still uneasy about saying something inappropriate, consider putting your thoughts down on paper. A short note or letter or even a preprinted card is acceptable in these situations. If you lost a loved one, what was something someone said that was comforting?