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How To Express Sympathy To Your Grieving Loved One

There are many ways to express sympathy to a loved one who is mourning. Regardless of the circumstances, losing a spouse, child, parent, sibling, other relative, or friend is never easy. When you are trying to support your grieving loved one, you may struggle to find the right thing to say or how to truly express how sorry you are for their loss. Below are some ideas to help you be there for your loved one through this difficult time.


Speak genuinely from the heart using compassionate kind words. Consider writing a note in a sympathy card, sharing a memory in the online guestbook, or sending a text to let your loved one know you are thinking of them. Reaching out reminds your loved one that although they may feel alone in their grief, you are there for them.

In any verbal or written communication, avoid comparing grief by saying something like, “I know how you feel.” Everyone’s grief is different. Instead, acknowledge their grief by saying things like, “I am so sorry you are going through this” or “I know this is incredibly hard” or “I am so sorry. There just aren’t words to express it.”


Help your grieving loved one through kind actions. This could be as simple as giving them a hug. Perhaps you could send flowers or a plant. Another kind gesture would be to donate to a charity in their deceased loved one’s name. By doing this, especially if the charity had great meaning to their deceased loved one, you are taking action to show your loved one that the person they lost is still making an impact and that the things that mattered to them still matter deeply. Other actions include offering to help by bringing your grieving loved one groceries or a meal, helping with daily tasks such as cleaning their home or assisting with laundry, taking them to run errands, or getting them out of the house such as by accompanying them on a walk.


In the days after your loved one’s loss, be there for them. Then, in the long weeks, months, and years after their loss, continue to be there for them. Provide a listening ear by asking to hear about what they are feeling or about memories with their loved ones. If you also knew their loved one, share some of your favorite memories with them too.


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