When someone you care about is grieving after a loss, it can be difficult to know what to say or do. Many of us have said “The Best” and “The Worst.” We meant no harm, in fact, the opposite. We were trying to comfort. A grieving person may say one of the worst ones about themselves and it’s OK. It may make sense for a member of the clergy to say, “He is in a better place” when someone comes to them for guidance. Whereas an acquaintance saying it may not feel good.
You would also not want to say to someone, you are in the stages of grief. The stages were never meant to tuck messy emotions into neat packages. While some of these things to say have been helpful to some people, the way in which they are often said has the exact opposite effect than what was originally intended.
Now, more than ever, your loved one needs your support. You don’t need to have answers or give advice or say and do all the right things. The most important thing you can do for a grieving person is to simply be there. It’s your support and caring presence that will help your loved one cope with the pain and gradually begin to heal.
Attending a funeral isn’t always easy. Funerals are a chance for the family to come together to mourn and remember a loved one. Paying your respects is a way to show your support. However, feeling unsure of the words to say at a funeral is a common experience. Here are a few examples of what to say when you approach someone who’s mourning a loss.
Examples of what to say
Since words aren’t always easy to find, it helps to have a few examples of what to say. Again, short and simple is almost always best. Here is what to say to your friends and family if your close loved one died.
- This is a difficult loss. I was very close to [Name].
- [Name] a large part of my life. I’ll never forget their kindness.
- [Name] will be missed by the entire family.
- We are all so sorry for this loss. [Name] was loved by many.
- I’m sorry for your loss.
- [Name] was a loved community member. We will all miss them.
- Your family is in my thoughts and prayers at this time.
- Let me know if you need anything right now. I’m here for you.
- I have fond memories of your [relationship to the deceased].
It’s common for the family to ask if any guests wish to speak at the funeral. Speaking at a funeral is a great way to express your feelings about the loss of a loved one, particularly if you were close to this person.
You also might give a speech if you’re close to a family member of the deceased. He or she might ask you to speak on their behalf or to talk about their relationship with their loved one. However, public speaking when emotions are running high isn’t always easy.
No matter your comfort level with talking in front of others, this is an intimidating situation. You want to handle the situation with grace and confidence.
If you need to write an eulogy, this book can help you come up with the right words right now and what to say at a funeral.