When my parents passed away, people were so quick to say “I am sorry for your loss.” Even though this phrase is a wonderful gesture, it starts to feel like empty words after hearing it so many times. It has become such a prevalent phrase when someone you know has lost a loved one. I even find myself guilty of saying this phrase every once in a while, simply because it is a learned behavior.
I know first hard, that there is no easy way to move on after experiencing such a great loss, but here are some phrases that I have heard over the years after people learned about my story of losing my parents, and these phrases have seemed to be extremely comforting to me. I hope by sharing these phrases with you, they can, in turn, help someone else that needs that same comfort.
1) I’m Here for you
“I cannot imagine the pain that you must be feeling, but just know that I am here for you with whatever you need.” This is such a simple phrase, but it can mean so much. Sometimes all the person wants is comfort. Hearing these words that they have someone in their corner to help them through such a tragic time can be very comforting and relieving. After losing a loved one, this person might think that certain friendships might change, or that they will have to get through this loss all on their own. Show them that this is not the case. BUT, if you say that you will be there for them when they need you, then actually follow through and be there for them.
2) I wish you Peace and comfort during this difficult time
As you read above, the one thing that can be most difficult, is how lost and uncomfortable things can feel for the person that lost a loved one. By sharing these words with them, you’re offering, not only your condolences, but also that you hope they can find some peace during such a difficult time in their life. Gaining a sense of peace after losing your loved one seems very far fetched. You constantly are worrying about losing someone else close to you, or worrying about having to do life without your loved one. These words will show that you hope the best for them in finding the light at the end of the dark tunnel.
3) You have my support in whatever way you need
A lot of the time, something that can be challenging after losing a loved one, is being scared to make decisions alone, especially when you used to make decisions with their input. Knowing that you have someone to be in your corner through the entire decision making process can be a huge weight off of your shoulders. By saying this to them, after their loss, it can show them that they are not alone, and still have support from others around them.
4) How can I help?
This is a big one! When I was going through the loss of both of my parents, the biggest thing that I regret, was not asking for help. This one can be tricky to ask, because sometimes you might need to offer your help, and continue offering until they cave, but you do not want to come across as being too pushy, before they might be ready to accept any help. The person that just lost a loved one might not ask for help, because they do not want to be a burden, so you can offer your help in small ways that might end up being big ways to them. This can include something as simple as calling them to offer to take the kids off of their hands for the day, or offering to run an errand for them. It can be as simple as lending an ear when they just need someone to listen. This is a great phrase all around, and can show how much you care and want to be there for them.
5) I am sorry for whatever challenges lie ahead. I am here and willing to help you. Would it be okay if I call next week just to check in with you?
One thing that people may not realize when someone loses a loved one is that people are there in the beginning of the loss, through the funeral and the first few weeks, then people slowly get back to their own lives, and in a sense, vanish. If you are one of those people that has stood by your friend through thick and thin, good for you!! They need people surrounding them more than ever through this difficult time.
With this being said, Be there. Be there in the beginning, the middle, AND the end. Many people can be there to show support in the beginning, when everything is so fresh, but that loss does not simply go away just because the funeral is over. Call your friend and check in on them periodically. Even if years have passed, they will still have days that hit them, and they simply just need someone to listen to.
6) I know there is nothing I can say to make things better right now, but I am here to listen whenever you need someone to talk to.
If nothing else, simply just be there to lend them an ear. Sometimes all they need is for someone to listen to them when they need to vent. THEY ARE NOT ASKING FOR ADVICE, BUT JUST SOMEONE TO LISTEN. Remember this. Learn to be quiet at times and just fully listen to whatever they feel like sharing. Do not try to be thinking about what you will say to them, or that you will not know what to say next. I can promise you that God will give you the perfect words to say when it comes time for you to speak.
7) You are in my thoughts/ I am thinking of you.
This one can be sometimes cliche, but it is still a good one! Letting people know that you are thinking of them during this difficult time can mean a lot. Knowing that you are holding them in your heart, and continuing to think of them and that they receive healing, is a beautiful gift to them. They need others to be there and to know that others want what is best for them. This one, paired with asking how you can help, can be a great way to show how much you care for them!
8) I am honored and blessed to have known him/her.
This one means so much to me whenever people tell me this. I know that my parents were incredible people, and it feels wonderful to hear others agree with me and tell me how amazing they were. It also means the world to me when people tell me that my parents would be so proud of me. Reminding people of their loved one in these ways makes people feel good about themselves, and reminds them that their loved one is still there, watching over them.
This phrase can also be extremely humbling to admit that you felt blessed to have had their presence in your life. This will bring a smile to the person’s face to remember their loved one in a good light.
9) Just Be There.
As important as the phrases are above, the most important one is to simply be there for the person. Today, tomorrow, and all of the days to come. I am not asking that you rearrange your entire life, but it is important that we are there for each other during trying times. At the end of the day, all we have to hold onto is each other.
The bottom line with all of these phrases listed above is to simply just give comfort to them. If you can provide nothing else, just be there for them and comfort them through hugs, cards, listening, and love!