It’s a sad truth of life; everyone will lose someone to death at some stage in life.
When that happens to a friend or family member, it’s hard to know what to say sometimes.
While the most common phrase in English is, I am so sorry for your loss; there are many other things that we can say to someone when they have suffered the loss of a loved one.
(Check out our article about Other ways to say so sorry for your loss if you want more phrases that are similar.)
Perhaps the most important thing is to listen first. You can’t comfort someone if you don’t know what the person is thinking or feeling exactly.
Assure them that their feelings are quite normal and you are sure that they did everything they could to help the individual who has passed away.
It’s OK to feel the way you do; you did so much for him in those last days, cooking and cleaning. I have no doubt that he appreciated everything you did for him.
You did so much for him during those final weeks/months, and I know that he was so happy to have you in his life. He couldn’t have asked for a better friend/wife etc.
Be Positive and Truthful
Tell them about others who have been through the same experience and successfully recovered.
Do you know Cindy? She also lost her father a few years ago but has been able to endure the pain of his loss and fondly talks about her dad all the time.
When Tom lost his wife to cancer, he found it hard to cope, but over time he was able to recover and now frequently speaks about the things they used to do together.
Talk about the Deceased Person
While some people think they should avoid the subject, it is one of the best ways to help someone cope with the loss. Speak about positive things the person did for you or others during their life.
Jessica was such a beautiful person; I remember when she cooked us a meal after my wife had just given birth. We will never forget her kindness.
Carl was so generous; he was always helping us out with transport to and from the shopping mall.
Grieving people may have an emotional outburst and even say unkind things towards the people helping them, don’t get drawn into an argument and remember they are probably saying stuff out of the anger, hurt and frustration they probably feel.
Speak consolingly and be kind towards them.
- I can see you are very upset, and it’s OK to be angry and frustrated, but just know I am here to help you and that you are not alone.