The most important thing you can do for a family who is grieving is to just be there. Just your physical
presence lets the deceased person’s family and loved one know that you are there to support them.
Gestures as small as a kind word or a hug can be very comforting.
You can share a special memory or say how much you will miss the person who died, but it is most
important to keep the focus on others. Speak from the heart, offer your condolences, and let those who
are grieving know that you are available to support them in any way they need. There is no need to try
to be profound or creative. When people are grieving, it is most helpful for them to hear things like:
- I’m so sorry for your loss.
- I’ll be thinking of you.
- He was such a kind man.
- I will miss her so much.
- I can’t imagine how hard this must be for you.
- If you want to talk, you know I’m here for you.
Remember to keep the focus on the person who is grieving. This is not the time to talk about your own
experiences of loss, and what they were like for you. The person who has recently lost a loved one is
often in emotional shock. Don’t try to make sense of what’s happened, or put a happy face on it. The
family is grieving, and are entitled to their own experience of that. While there’s no “right thing” to say
to someone who has experienced a loss, avoid saying things like: