64 of the Best Things Ever Said to a Griever

Supporting a Griever / Supporting a Griever : Litsa Williams

For further articles on these topics:

People ask us this question time and again: What should I say to someone who's grieving? They ask, hoping there is an easy answer or checklist... but I have bad news: Those things don't exist.

We recently asked WYG readers about the best and worst things anyone has said to them in their grief, hoping for some specific examples that we might then be able to offer as guidance to all those seeking answers. And though they provided some amazing insight, things still remain, well, complicated. In fact, we found that some of the EXACT SAME PHRASES were listed on both the best and the worst lists. Why is this so tricky!?

Well, we've said it before and we'll probably say it a million more times: What feels right and helpful for one person may be all wrong for another. Also, timing can make all the difference—so you may just have the bad luck of picking the wrong moment. Or, you might be the right person to say something to one friend or family member, but the wrong person to say it to another. Eleanor made a super graphic about this over in the post of the 64 Worst Things Ever Said to a Griever, so make sure you check that out if you missed it.

In case that isn't enough of a disclaimer... Before we dive into the list of "best things," you can watch the video below for some of our simple, tried and true tips. These won't necessarily guarantee that you say the "right" thing, but they are a good place to start.

As for those "best things" that we're shared with us, well, you'll see that sometimes the items on this list aren't especially specific. These suggestions are often general statements or ways of being.

We think this is worth noting because people often fixate on having the "right" words to make someone feel better, but often the best thing you can do has nothing to do with what you say, but how you maintain a supportive presence. So, without further ado...

1. "There are no words."

2. "I will travel to you and stay with you several days."

3. "You can talk to me about your mum whenever you want—in 5, 10, 30 years."

4. "Your grief-reactions are normal/appropriate."

5. "You aren't going crazy."

6. "Tell me more about your mother,"

7. Someone gave me a very sincere compliment on how I've handled raising my kids as a single mother a few years after my husband died; meant the world to me to hear it. It's a lonely journey, and I needed that boost.

8. "I’m just really sorry you’ve had to go through this.” She kept her gaze into my eyes as I sobbed... It was so powerful just being “witnessed.”

9. "Your Dad was a wonderful man."

10. "Learn to live in acceptance of the loss, not in spite of the loss."

11. "She’s just made a change of address."

12. "Grief has no expiration date."

13. "It’s okay to have bad days because it reminds you how much you love them, and the good days remind you they’re right there with you."

14. "Just talk about your son whenever you feel like."

15. "You don’t have to talk. I will just sit beside you."

16. My 81-year-old Father drove quite a distance to just sit with me and, as he sat listening to me completely fall apart, he reached over and put his arm around me and quietly said, "Please know this is only temporary. You will get to finish raising him one day." Then he said, "I will get there before you and I will carry your messages to him."

17. “We’ve asked your colleagues and they have donated enough paid time off for you to take the time you need."

18. "We were just talking about him last night."

19. "We remember him and speak of him often."

20. "When you feel that she’s with you, know that she really is."

21. "She is never far away."

22. "Let me know if I can help."

23. "I’m sorry for your loss."

24. When someone tells you they are there for you, brings you flowers or comfort food, or your best friend comes over after you’ve told her not to (because you didn’t want to be a bother) because she knows you that well... Those are the types of things that make a difference.

25. "I was really mad at God when I found out."

26. "It f#&king sucks."

27. "We won’t forget him."

28. "He was such a special kid."

29. "I don’t know what to say but I can listen."

30. "He would be proud of you."

31. "I am praying for you and will always be."

32. "I love you."

33. "Thank you for giving us the most beautiful, generous, loving person we’ve ever known."

34. "We loved her like she was one of the family."

35."You’ve been a good dad to them."

36. When my Mom passed, a good friend of mine looked me in the eye and, with such love and concern, said “I am worried about you. I think you should consider grief therapy.” I did so because of her genuine concern and courage to say that to me at the time.

37. "One day you will be talking about Jessica and a smile will come to your face first before a tear."

38. The best thing was from a chaplain who gave me permission to be mad as hell and instead of asking 'Why me?' asking 'Why not me?'

39. My mom made me socks and a hat for my baby gone-too-soon in pregnancy. She said, “Every baby deserves to be celebrated, no matter how long they are with us.”

40. "A part of your loved one lives in you and all those he loved."

41. "Be as kind to yourself as you are to everyone else."

42. I received a card from a former college classmate of my husband. In the card, she wrote about how proud my husband had been of me and how happy I had made him. She wrote that, every time their paths crossed over the years, he always spoke so highly of me. She was in awe of how proud he was to have me as his wife.

43. "You will never get 'over it', but you will get through it."

44. "I can see by these pictures how much you loved each other. She must have known every day she was loved."

45. "There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Your life has been changed forever."

46. "You're allowed to feel and be exactly as you are because this is your experience and no one else's."

47. "I wouldn’t be alive today if your dad hadn’t helped me get sober by giving me a reason to be sober."

48. The best thing is when someone says, “I remember...” and then goes on to share a memory of the person you’ve lost.

49. "I cannot possibly understand how you feel. But I’m here".

50. When I told a friend my heart is broken she said, “I will lend you mine 'til yours has mended.”

51. "It’s okay not to be okay."

52. "Look for signs. He will show you he is with you."

53. "He/she is with you always, and is proud of you for the way you live your life."

54. I love when someone hears a song that reminds them of him and they reach out to tell me.

55. "Come rest a minute. Let's talk about and remember all those sweet memories. Your dad was a great man and father."

56. "We'll get through this together."

57. "Now you’ve got someone up there watching out for you."

58. "It's okay to hurt. Don't hold back your tears."

59. "I have no words, this just sucks."

60. "What the F*^k? How can this be?"

61. "He was so loved and my life is better because he was in it."

62. "You are a good mother and his death with never change that."

63. "You are not moving on you are moving forward."

64. The woman cleaning out my father's absolutely vile condo, when I admitted how embarrassing I found the state of his living space and apologized to her, said: “I don’t judge. Everyone has different priorities. He was clearly a wonderful father who was deeply loved.”

What would you add to the list of best things to say to someone grieving? Leave a comment with the best thing someone said to you in your grief or a general tip you have about how to support someone grieving. 

We wrote a book!

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for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible,
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After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible, real-life book!

What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss is for people experiencing any type of loss. This book discusses some of the most common grief experiences and breaks down psychological concepts to help you understand your thoughts and emotions. It also shares useful coping tools, and helps the reader reflect on their unique relationship with grief and loss.

You can find What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss wherever you buy books:

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119 Comments on "64 of the Best Things Ever Said to a Griever"

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  1. Dr. Skip  May 8, 2024 at 8:11 am Reply

    As a Trauma Surgeon, I’ve had a lot of experience delivering the news of a family member passing on. I often have a member of clergy in the room before I enter and I ask him if they are Christians or not. If they are, I explain what caused the death of their family member.
    If appropriate, I tell them I received a post card earlier tonight, that was from the post office stating a change of address and it was from their loved one. I actually have a post office issued change of address with the following on it, except the name, to which i fill in before talking with them. I say look at this to the children, its from your mother or father and this is his/hers new address. number 1 Saints ave. City of Peace, Heaven. You cannot believe how they react to this,They always ask me if they can keep the post card, It starts the process of grieving in a very positive way, and the adults follow the children. You will believe what you want to believe, and this is the positive start. It has never failed me

  2. Linda Acock  February 19, 2024 at 9:43 pm Reply

    When my father died, one of his close circle of friends commented, “Phil was the kind of guy you’d bury a body for!”

  3. timmyjcee@yahoo.co.uk  December 20, 2023 at 2:11 pm Reply

    Just say,
    There are no word I can offer you, that match my hearts feeling.

  4. Adam Kemper  November 14, 2022 at 5:50 pm Reply

    The world is a darker place for her passing.

  5. Jo  November 14, 2022 at 12:29 am Reply

    I wish I could fill the hole in your heart.

  6. Jennifer L  September 13, 2022 at 8:59 am Reply

    It is so hard to know how to help someone through grief! These are great suggestions of what to say, and it’s just as important to know what NOT to say. I found some helpful ideas here as well (URL removed per site guidelines)

  7. Intan  March 13, 2022 at 9:16 am Reply

    i lose my brother in 2019 my big brother die because car accident.
    the best comfort word that people say to me is “he in better place”. i was religious person. At that time i have hard time to think straight because cant accept my big brother pass away, because i very love my dear brother.. someone that have been take care me since i little kid.
    The word make me remind that everyone will die someday, it was part of life, he back to god as everyone will die too.
    The worst way of comfort is ask too much question about people that pass away.
    It make people remind that the person have gone and recall all memory that they keep.
    At that time it was my teacher ask me that, my hand is shaking holding myself from crying, i dont like it and it was a bad moment. (sorry bad english)

    • Dee  July 2, 2022 at 7:01 pm Reply

      I’ve buried two daughters and one of the best things said to me was by a grief counselor. He said, when I was in the throes of despair over the death of my second daughter, “You still have a relationship with her. It’s just different now. Grow it.”

      At the time I didn’t realize how very meaningful that comment was but it hit me days later. Strangely enough, that simple comment changed everything for me.

  8. Kai  January 7, 2022 at 8:38 am Reply

    Those comments about “a change of address”, “in a better place”, “looking down on you from heaven”, etc are a kick in the face to one third of the population of the U.S. who don’t believe in an afterlife. Please be considerate before opening your mouth. Sometimes being present but silent is best.

    • lesa  June 1, 2022 at 12:47 am Reply


      While I appreciate everyones own opinions and values and beliefs…. I do not think in any way is it wrong for those of us that DO BELIEVE in heaven and after life to say how we feel. If you do not believe then just move on, let it go. What has this world come too when we as believers in Christ have to be silent because we may OFFEND a non believer. It is not right and EVERYONE has the right to say and believe in God, after life or whatever and feel free to say so without worrying about offending someone.
      I believe that is exactly what is wrong with this country and all the evil in it. Everything has to be political correct, however, its the government who decides what is political correct.. THEIR BELIEFS… DO NOT try changing someones beliefs or criticize their beliefs and values because your offended. Look away… because just like you, we believers have every right to voice our opinions without criticism from anyone.

      Thank You and God bless you

      • Litsa  June 1, 2022 at 9:33 am

        Iesa, many people who do believe in God and heaven share that these types of statements feel hurtful to them. In grief, it is usually not just about having or not having faith. Many people who have faith still hear these comments and feel that the reason people say them is to bypass their pain, telling them that they shouldn’t feel sad or upset if they truly have faith. Of course having faith does not minimize the intensity of grief, so when that is what people say to someone grieving it often feels as if they are saying that the person’s grief shouldn’t be so severe (whether they intend that or not). If you believe the person who died is in a better place, that is of course your belief and others should respect that. But this article is about considering what is supportive to say to someone who is acutely grieving. If someone doesn’t share your beliefs and they have lost someone, saying that they are in a better place is often perceived as ignoring their beliefs and prioritizing your own. And if they do share your belief, they many welcome your comment, but they may also perceive it as rushing them in their grief or minimizing it. This is part of the tricky thing about supporting others who are grieving – there are no objective ‘rights’ or ‘wrongs’. The biggest thing is knowing the person who has experienced this loss and being mindful and conscious of that. This doesn’t mean you can’t say those things – but to not expect that someone grieving, who feels you are saying them because you don’t want to be present with their pain, won’t potentially criticize the statement or not feel supported by it underestimates the impact of those words.

  9. Mr rene perez  June 26, 2021 at 12:31 pm Reply

    Wife died of cancer .finding it hard to go on without her .she has been gone 1 month now
    Friends no were to be found .

    • Sheri  July 21, 2021 at 10:59 am Reply

      I’m very sorry to hear about your loss! That is so horrible! Sometimes friends don’t know what to say. Sometimes they are waiting for you to reach out to them. Sometimes they just think that you need time alone. I know I needed to be alone after a death of a loved one and I appreciated the space. Maybe you should reach out to your friends and tell them that you are ready to reconnect and need someone to talk about your loss. Or you can even tell them you “do not” want to talk about your loss, that you would just like to hang out with a friend. You don’t need 1 million friends, you just one “good one”. Find that one and make them your support person if they are willing. Otherwise I would suggest counseling or church. I know you don’t wanna hear it right now…. but the best friend you will ever have his God. I understand that you might be mad at Him right now and want to tell Him…. My best friend was my wife!!! And why did you take her from me if you love me. I do not have that answer. But there are grief counselors, and there is information all over the computer. If you really don’t have a friend to talk to you I would suggest going to a grief counseling group at a church. That is what my mom did and she found a group of about 12 very good friends that she still is in contact with. They were all going through the same thing she was. They did have some very serious counseling talks together but they also went out for breakfast and dinners, dancing, the zoo, concerts…. You name it! They know exactly what you were going through and it was very helpful for my mom. I am so sorry for your loss I cannot even imagine. It makes me sick to my stomach to think about losing my spouse. I had tears in my eyes when I read this. I have never wrote anything on a blog before in my life! I was here looking for answers myself. So I am not a counselor, I am not a blogger. I’m just someone who is very sad right now and when I saw your comment, Holy Spirit told me I needed to at least reach out to you and tell you that I am praying for you! I absolutely do not ever want to feel the pain you must feel right now. But there is a reason you are still here! Maybe you could help others going through what you are going through right now. I know it doesn’t feel like it right now. But maybe somebody out there need you!!! God bless you! You are in my prayers! Peace be with you

    • Sarina Helm  January 24, 2022 at 11:58 am Reply

      It’s hard to try and imagine living on without them
      It’s scary
      It’s painful some days
      All we wanna do is sit in those feelings until it consumes us
      Friends come and go but your experiences with them don’t, whether it be positive or negative

      Your lossed loved one will live on in you, so will the joyful memories you shared with that person
      The awkward times that might of made you giggle

      Only we can carry on the love and experiences and wisdom they taught/shared with us passing it forward
      Only you can carry on with their memory

      Sometimes we forget how easy it is for us to go and become lost in this era of comfort forgetting our vulnerabilities

      As someone who still takes it day by day all I can ask is please try

      There is no changing the past as much as I wish we could

      If you feel this advice is not for you then I apologise in advance

  10. SK  June 6, 2021 at 2:54 pm Reply

    “You are stronger than you realize.”
    A co-worker texted that to me the morning of my 21 yr old son’s funeral. It was the only thought I remember holding onto that day and has become an enduring mantra for me.

  11. Suzanne  March 29, 2021 at 5:46 pm Reply

    I recently lost my son to suicide. A very good friend lost her husband to COVID shortly after. My son really liked and respected her husband. She said that she was mad at her husband for leaving her but then realized that he would never have left her if he didn’t have to. I felt so stung because my son did choose to leave us. I had to step back and realize he really didn’t want to leave us and that he felt he had no choice. I just responded that I knew he didn’t want to hurt us. She then said that she knew he loved us and would never want us to hurt that much. I realized I could have just gotten upset and written her off, but instead I was able to allow her to express her grief and we continue to be there and support each other daily.

  12. Alice  March 15, 2021 at 5:49 pm Reply

    I lost my boyfriend…he was an angel to me…I miss him so much…he and I had plans for the future. My grandma tells me: ” Yes, you will one day see him again. But first you must marry someone and have your own kids. ” But that is scary because I feel like I won’t meet anyone else just like him..

  13. Annie  February 1, 2021 at 9:29 pm Reply

    We lost my Mom last summer. She was getting more and more frail, and I couldn’t lift her or keep her at my old house with its narrow hallways, but she lived in a good care center. We could only see her through a window screen, and she hated, Hated, HATED it. We promised her that after the pandemic, we’d do the same things again; trips to the park, drives to the doctor and Popeye’s chicken and the Botanical Gardens.

    And one morning after breakfast, the director called me to tell me that she had just been found unresponsive, they had a new computer system and couldn’t find her DNR, so they had to call paramedics–but she had passed. I started calling siblings, and the director called again to exclaim, “They got a pulse! They’re transporting her to the hospital!” So I called 2 siblings back–and then the hospital called while I was enroute to say that they had not been able to get a stable pulse, so they called her a few minutes earlier.

    I know what they’ll use for Roller-Coaster rides in Hell; my Dad died suddenly, and was resuscitated, then crashed again, just four years earlier.

    And just before Christmas, not four months after Mom died, my brother got pneumonia. Not Covid, but they had to intubate him, and he was sedated. Christmas was on Friday, but he had already died the Monday before. They said he coded, they worked like crazy and got a pulse. We were on the way to the hospital to be with my Sister-in-law, and my other sister texted me to say, “A.J. did not make it.” I was in the hospital parking lot, my Sister-in-law had to pick up two of her children, and the charge nurse called my phone and said that I could come on up to be there and wait for family in the ICU.

    My estranged husband had driven me, (acting VERY caring, hugging, holding my hand, etc. etc.) and I was back on that Roller-Coaster-In-Hell! He went in with me, walking ahead and being ostentatiously attentive–

    And my brother was lying there, extubated and still. I held one of his hands; it was cool–and IT HAD A PULSE!

    not his pulse.
    my pulse. It was strong, and I could feel it pounding hard.
    (not his pulse.)

    I spent time in the medical (dental) field, so I “spoke medical” and got the updates, and translated them for the non-medics in the family. The nursing and medical staff had done their very most heroic best, but I felt crushed and wrung out.

    And Estranged had the brass balls to say, “You’re not the only one who lost someone; I lost them, too!”
    And he has kept saying things like that. (Did he help compile your list of 64 Horrible Things To Say To Survivors???)
    And in the meantime, my mother is gone, which was horrible, and unfair, and especially bitter–and my first brother is gone, and it’s horrible and unfair and I keep having these episodes of meltdown and disorientation. “A.J.” had a particular fondness for one movie series, and each time I see anything associated with that, I nearly vomit from the empty, echoing pain.
    And Estranged is in the home, and telling people that “we” are “doing well, considering.”
    And when I cry, he changes the subject.

    My sisters and my brothers who are still alive are wonderful, but we are all at different levels of pain, and sorrow, and–the brother (who was given the Virus at work) has a particularly bitter sorrow; he survived Covid with no aftereffects, and the Dead Brother didn’t even HAVE Covid, he just got septic pneumonia and died a few days later.

    Guilt, because I didn’t keep Mom in my house, guilt because I didn’t loan my brother my blood pressure cuff and O2 sensor because I didn’t know he needed them, pain because the whole family is wonderful, and I want it to just. stop. I look at the caller ID and turn the phone over so I don’t have to hear the voice of my living brother or my nephews who sound just like each other.

    Guilt because I’m now the “matriarch” ?? and my younger sibling is taking care of things because I can’t even think.

  14. Tiffany  January 30, 2021 at 7:06 am Reply

    My Mom died from cancer in October of 2020. Yes, in the middle of the pandemic. This year went from hard to agonizing for our family. I have the good fortune of close family, friends and sisters-in-Christ that have come along side me and it has made all of the difference.
    These words and actions have been particularly helpful.

    – I’m so sorry to hear that your Mom died.
    -I love(d) your Mom
    – I know how close you are/were and how much she loved you.
    – Sending written prayers for me and my family.
    – Tell me about your Mom.
    – I lost my Mom/Dad (and tell me their grieving experiences – it is helpful and I don’t feel so alone)
    – Some days are so excruciatingly hard and it is okay to not be okay.
    – Some days just getting up or showering or brushing your teeth is enough.
    – Just calling to check on you.
    – I love you. This is hard.
    – It is okay to not answer the phone. Sometimes you just don’t have it in you to talk.
    – Calling to pray with me.
    – Telling me a memory they have of my Mom.
    – Telling me something about their relationship with my Mom.
    – Just sitting with me. Nothing has to be said.
    – Encouraging me with Bible scriptures and the hope that I have in Jesus.

    Of course there are those who don’t know what to say and say the wrong and hurtful things. I have chosen to let those things go in one ear and out the other. Some people just don’t know.
    I am guilty of being insensitive and thoughtless in expressing condolences in the past. For that I am so sorry to those I let down, hurt and offended.

  15. Brittney  January 25, 2021 at 5:31 pm Reply

    Best things said:
    She really loved you…I am here for you. Or not even words, a long hug from a loved one, my friend who came over and packed my suitcase for me, and another who insisted on driving me to the airport.

    Worst things said: They are in a better place. This was God’s plan for them.
    Managers reaching out to me while family member is in critical condition to ask if I could work today and can they expect me to be back. Wanted to respond, “I’m not sure because I don’t know how long the dying process will be.” Most hateful was was after my best friend died from an accidental drug overdose: “I hope she repented before she died so she didn’t go to hell”. Just terrible

    • Denise  February 15, 2021 at 5:54 pm Reply

      Brittney, some people have absolutely no people skills! What a horrific thing to say to you after your friend committed suicide. I would have looked them straight in the eyes and commented back to them I hope what you just said to me made you feel better. Was it supposed to make me feel better or worse? And then I’d add that as far as I knew God was still in charge of deciding who gets into heaven not them!

  16. N.  January 11, 2021 at 4:10 am Reply

    A year ago today, my nephew was killed. Destroyed the family, especially my sister in law (his mother). Its taken a toll on her. I told her that there’s no wrong or right way to grieve. That no one has the right to tell her otherwise. I wish I could take her pain away. That yes, she might stumble but not to worry because we won’t let her fall. And to always know she’s not alone.

    • IsabelleS  January 11, 2021 at 10:59 am Reply

      N., I’m so very sorry for your loss. You sound like an incredible sister-in-law. She is lucky to have you!

  17. Reana Nice  October 2, 2020 at 9:59 am Reply

    A friend told me this after I lost my husband and started to date after a couple years, she said “ you haven’t moved on, you have moved over to a new path”

  18. Donna  August 25, 2020 at 1:02 am Reply

    One of my very best friends ,well her spouse died after a 6 yr battle with cancer and my daughter died shortly before, my friend keeps saying in every conversation that losing a spouse is way way more painful and stressful then losing a child—- that so hurts me I don’t think grieve should be compared

    • Beth  September 24, 2020 at 4:42 pm Reply

      Oh Donna, that is a terrible thing to say to you. Death is painful whomever the person is we cared about that passed. I think you might want to back away from this friend who does not seem to understand she is diminishing your pain but by doing that she is also dismissing the love between you and your child. Grief is not a competition, the only way to make it just a little more bearable is to acknowledge each other’s pain and show love. I hope you have good support system and give this person some distance. Hugs.

      • Donna  October 4, 2020 at 10:41 pm

        Thankyou Beth! I so agree … and I was in no position to say anything

  19. Janet  August 2, 2020 at 9:32 pm Reply

    how about this, wish you married the other guy who was right for you…. Don’t I know..

  20. Sheila Forman  June 15, 2020 at 3:49 am Reply

    One of my sisters said to me, “I always assumed I’d be the first one of us to be widowed”. I was floored by this and just couldn’t speak. What could I have said? Well, congratulations, you weren’t… it was me! So hurtful and thoughtless.

  21. Linda Davis  May 11, 2020 at 12:00 pm Reply

    The night my son died, I was obviously in shock, but, somehow I was on the phone to my brother, and I simply said, Danny is dead, and I remember my brother saying, we’re on our way! I don’t remember many things, but, somewhere inside those few words brought me comfort. My brothers live almost an hour away from me. I don’t remember a lot about that night, but, having them near helped. The worse thing ever said, came from a waitress that I was familiar with, who said, after a couple of months (if it was even that long), you need to move on! I felt like she slapped me in the face! That was someone who had no idea of the pain I was in, but, her words still ring in my ears, and that was nineteen years ago!

    • Joanne Dubreuil  July 12, 2020 at 10:37 pm Reply

      When my mom died, my mother-in-law told me she can never replace my mother, but she’s there for me whenever I need her.

  22. Michael Fox  March 25, 2020 at 5:52 am Reply

    After my wife’s sudden death fifteen months ago, I received many thoughtful cards and letters that reflected the extraordinary person who had shared my life for over forty years. This post prompted me to reread these generous messages that reminded how lucky I am to have this special person in my life. Yes, Jude is still a huge part of my life.
    I have selected one message to share my beautiful Jude with you.
    “I have been incredibly inspired by Jude. Her strength tempered by gentleness, her determination tempered by by listening, her faith in human nature. I have been overwhelmed by the number people who observed that it was Jude who encouraged them, ‘took a chance’ on them, believed in them and helped them believe in themselves. I have been blessed by her quiet confidence in me, her wry smile and firm but gentle guidance.
    Thank you Jude for having as your priority a determination to bring out the best in people.”

  23. Heather O Adams  February 14, 2020 at 11:00 am Reply

    Obviously, not all of these are great for everyone. But they are generally better than a lot of things ppl say. I”ve been very fortunate in that not many ppl said thoughtless things. I”m spiritual, but not specifically Christian. I told myself I’d kick whoever said ‘he’s in a better place’ and that person turned out to be my mother. I did not kick her. He was quite content being with me, as he often told me. He loved being with me and went thru a lot of medical crap to be able to do it. I am glad he is no longer in pain, b/c his last 6 months were rough. But mostly, people acknowledged how much we loved each other, and tried to show me support in tangible ways. I had one friend who came from out of town, stayed at another friend’s house so she wasn’t underfoot, but came over every day that first two weeks. Many friends made me trinkets or mementos. Several spoke at his funeral of their favorite memories or how he made them feel. A few just said very little, but flat out said they didn’t know what to say. However, just the nods and quiet check-ins were great. I”m at 11 months, and they still do it. A fellow widow who lost her husband suddenly in 2016 has been texting me on all the days that are most likely to be bad just to say hi, I’m with you. I did have one friend who said nothing, would not acknowledge it, didn’t even offer condolences and just pretended my husband never existed, pointedly changing the topic if I brought Chris up. That one hurt. That wasn’t companionable silence, that was erasure. A widow or grieving person may want to talk about their loss…shutting them down or out is not kind. It may be awkward or uncomfortable. Please try to accept it if you care for that person at all.

  24. Stephanie  February 10, 2020 at 7:12 am Reply

    My 29 year old son died last month. He was married with small children, I’ve spent a lot of time with them since, I did before, now I’m needed more and I like to stay busy. The only thing that has bothered me is people wanting to know details of his death. Why? Every time we tell it we have to relive it. Ask me about our big family fun weekends, cooking his favorite dishes, how much he loves his family, what a hard worker he has been, a devoted son, a faithful friend. Nothing else has bothered me, no one knows what to say, it’s an impossible situation, and I probably won’t remember, I will remember that you reached out in love, and that matters to me. I tell my daughter-in-law, this is our family, our grief, and it’s okay to handle it however it feels right to us. My favorite support is a simple hug, or if far away a virtual hug. I’ve had old friends reach out to say holy cow Steph, sending you so many hugs. That’s nice too. People have reached out to ask if I’m eating and/or sleeping, that helps too, for a while I wasn’t. We’re building our new family normal, and we’re doing it as a team. Love and hugs to you all, do your grief your way, and reach out whenever you need to.

  25. Beverly  February 5, 2020 at 2:50 pm Reply

    When my husband died at 43 and I had 4 children to raise my neighbor and “friend” who had recently been divorced, said to me a few days after the funeral “You are luckier than me …. your husband didn’t choose to leave you.” OMG …. I”M LUCKIER THAN HER !!!!??? My children no longer has their father … I no longer have their other parent to help in decisions about raising them …. and I’m luckier than her?!! I was appalled !!

  26. Jessica  January 10, 2020 at 4:14 pm Reply

    I have just realized now that anything that starts with “at least” is not helpful and I stop listening. My sibling died and many people say “at least you have [my husband’s name”. I am grateful every day to have a supportive husband, but a husband and sibling are two different things and fill two different roles. The people saying it to me usually have a spouse and one (if not more than one) living siblings. It makes me feel like what I get is enough for me even though they have a lot more.

  27. Dira  January 10, 2020 at 2:59 pm Reply

    I struggle with the “at leasts” even now that I am the griever ! I am one of those always trying to find a bright side.. I find it saying it to myself. At least I have my health, at least I am financially stable. I least I am young enough to cope with the changes, at least we had time to say goodbye.. But I am learning to not say it to others. The comments that bother me the most are the religious ones. my people know I am not , so your prayers are not helping me, just you . And no he has not just changed addresses.

    • Laurie D  March 7, 2023 at 8:28 am Reply

      My dad died last summer. He was 84 but it was pretty unexpected. A friend from grade school – who I haven’t seen in 30 years was at the funeral and then sent me a private message on Facebook recently. After a really nice exchange of him asking how my mom was doing, he said…”Time takes pain and leaves memories.” It’s honestly been one of the nicest things I think I’ve heard over these past seven months.

  28. Susan  January 10, 2020 at 2:46 pm Reply

    I had a friend call to say she was flying in to stay with me so I could get a good night sleep.

  29. Dee  January 2, 2020 at 12:25 pm Reply

    Having recently lost my daughter, I have learned not to take things personally when people fail to word them correctly. The fact that they have come forward and acknowledged the loss in what is meant to be a thoughtful and loving way is far more meaningful than not acknowledging it at all as though it never happened. Some of the things I have heard, I have been guilty of saying myself before my experience, only meaning well and not knowing what to say. What can be said to me may be offensive to others and vice versa. Also, absolute silence (although present) can mean that someone just wants you to know that they are there and they don’t know what to say. Losing my daughter was the worst experience I have ever had. I know that I will never get “over” it, but I do get through it… day… by… day. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t grieve… mostly in private.

    I have to agree with removing toxic people from your life. Those kinds of people aren’t even good for themselves. Don’t get caught in their snare and be dragged down. I have had to cut out some of my closest family members for just being themselves. If a relationship doesn’t benefit both parties, it’s not good for you and that is not meant in a materialistic way. For me, attending family functions with these people (at their homes), I couldn’t wait to leave before I even arrived. I knew how they would make me feel and I didn’t want to go through it. My daughter had done much soul searching and self-reflection while she was ill and decided to sever the same relationships before passing. They weren’t edifying and were producing the same ill feelings in her before her diagnoses (there were many). Though cancer grieved her, it opened her eyes up to who and what was important and how we should treat ourselves well, even in our choices of people we surround ourselves with. In the end, she did not regret it. She didn’t have peace because she was leaving a husband and two small girls behind, but she had peace with all her other decisions.

    I try to bear in mind that not everyone knows what to say or how to say it because for some people it wouldn’t be offensive, while with others it seems to enrage them. Perhaps, we should try to look at the intention of the words rather than the words themselves.

    • Celene  December 3, 2020 at 4:26 pm Reply

      First, I am truly sorry for your loss.

      Your words really hit home for me. One of my best friends just lost her 29yr old daughter, it was the day before her birthday.

      I sometimes do not know what to say. I have stayed away from “she’s in a better place” type comments, but I’m truly at a loss for anything that might comfort her.

      My heart is so broken for her.

  30. ayla  November 28, 2019 at 7:46 am Reply

    From a person who lost there dad, I can tell you straight away these are wrong.
    never say things like “he was a wonderful man” in the past tense. It’s make us feel worse realising he’s actually gone.

    never say: ”i’m sorry for your loss” because first off we don’t know how to reply, and also we’ve heard it from every single other person we know. it’s a common thing to say “i’m sorry for your loss”, it makes us feel as if you don’t care.

    never say: “i’m here for you”. seriously shut up! i know your here for me, just like every other person who gave me the puppy dogs eyes and said, “i’m sorry for your loss, i’m here for you”. then walks away!!!! we know you don’t care, we’re not stupid.

    instead of being stupid and annoying you should do this:
    – don’t try t pretend to understand what we’re going through , cause you don’t.

    – don’t get all awkward when you talk about your dads in front of us, we may go quiet. But that is a way for our brain to make sure we don’t cry in ground of you.

    -ask us questions ONLY with permission. say, “if you don’t mind me asking” or “you don’t have to answer but”. if you just ask a random question about our dad without asking we don’t have the time to think if we want to answer or not, or to figure out if we will cry.

    • Alli  February 7, 2020 at 7:23 pm Reply

      So, as someone who has not had to deal with the loss of a family member but does interact on a daily basis with people that have recently lost someone, what SHOULD I say? You listed a number of things that you think one shouldn’t say to a grieving person, but it would definitely help me to know what you think would be a considerate and sincere response. While I may not necessarily know these people I interact with well, I absolutely feel for them. Was there anything someone said that DID give you comfort or adequately convey their sincere condolences?

      • AshDud  March 6, 2020 at 5:26 pm

        My name is Ashley and I am 31 years Young. In April of 2016 my cousin who was one of my best friends and her fiance which she had been with for 12 years, were involved in a 5 car pile up in which both of them passed away. My cousin was 32 years old and her fiance was 35 years old, all they were doing was sitting at a red light in a major intersection literally doing nothing wrong when a kid was going 90 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour Zone, failed to even try to break Which led to them taking the initial impact. Since they were at the front of the line of the stoplight, there were pushed into incoming traffic in which several other vehicles ended up involved.
        instead of stopping to render Aid, he fled the scene leaving for other vehicles without attempting to make sure that anyone was okay basically speaking volumes of his character because it doesn’t matter how scared you are the right thing to do is to render Aid. Her fiance basically died at the scene and my cousin was taken off of life support two days later as she had way too many internal injuries and would have basically been a vegetable, sadly.

        the legal proceeding for criminal charges is still pending and it has been going on officially for one year as the guy did not get arrested until March of 2019. both families will never truly reach the peace that they need or anything until this man is held accountable as he has between 13 to 15 charges against him including vehicular homicide, DUI manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident with death etc.

        While I continue to grieve and may never stop doing so I really do try to count my blessings that I’m still here and alive but it’s just not the same without them ?

    • Rose  March 10, 2020 at 5:19 pm Reply

      So what should a person say?

    • Tab  December 30, 2020 at 12:29 am Reply

      These are excellent suggestions about what NOT to say. Could you please provide a couple of suggestions about what is helpful to say to people who are grieving?

  31. Dromo  November 2, 2019 at 7:48 pm Reply

    Thanks so much for so many helpful suggestions – it can be very difficult to know what to say sometimes, especially to people who are experiencing grief that you haven’t experienced yourself. And I think the ideas and comments above demonstrate how differently people experience grief, and how different situations of loss can be.

    The only of the 64 suggestions above that I don’t agree with is number 31. As a person without religious beliefs, saying ‘I will be praying for you’ is equivalent to ‘I won’t be doing anything’, as I don’t believe that praying IS doing anything but making the person who’s praying feel like they’ve done something. If you KNOW that the person grieving holds similar beliefs to you, and believes prayer to be valuable, then of course, it could be the right thing to say. Otherwise, perhaps choose something unrelated to your own beliefs, and more relevant to the grieving person’s feelings.

  32. Tom  October 15, 2019 at 3:05 am Reply

    3 of my close friends list their best friend to suicide. I did not know their friend well and I have tried to support them the best I can but I am running out of things to say. What is the best thing I can do for them ?

  33. Katie Cossor  October 7, 2019 at 11:01 pm Reply

    After losing my father in a car accident, a man that employed both of my brothers gave us a card and enclosed a heartfelt, handwritten letter. He started by saying that he’d had the opportunity to get to know both of my brothers very well and also had the opportunity to meet and work with my father. He went on to say how impressed he was with the fine, young men my brothers were and that once he met my father it was easy to see how they turned out to be such wonderful people. He then explained that he never had a good relationship with his father and that it was truly wonderful to see my father interact with his son’s like friends, family and coworkers. He admired the relationship the three of them had and made a point of saying he hoped they realized how special and unique that was.
    That letter meant the world to my family. Within the last few years, I learned from one of my brothers that the man died tragically in a work accident. I wept as though I knew him well even though I didn’t; “How could a man that gave my family such a special gift die such a violent and tragic death?!”
    I was weeping for the loss of a good soul; a man that wasn’t afraid to express himself and his feelings to another with hopes of helping them heal.

  34. lukaz  September 29, 2019 at 3:38 am Reply

    something ive always wanted to hear is just a simple
    “ive got you”
    i lost my cat at a young age. she helped me through alot and i felt very lost when i realized she had ran away. none of my family ever realized the grief it caused me except for one of my sisters. we sat in my moms car one day a year after cleos disappearance and what helped me most was the two of us sitting quietly and her hugging me and letting me cry on her shoulder. ive never gotten any words to help, but theres always those quiet moments where i can sit somewhere and watch the pure black sky and get reminded of seeing her black fur.

    • lukaz  September 29, 2019 at 3:43 am Reply

      id like to mention as well, my father bluntly said ‘she probably ran away’ infront of me, and i was in the car, so i felt as if i had to hold back tears for another two hours until we got to our destination, but even then i didnt get a single second alone to cry
      i dont blame them, i just wish their actions were different.

  35. Kathleen Elsner-Madsen  September 29, 2019 at 3:15 am Reply

    When my husband died, my 10 year old nephew did not feel comfortable coming to the memorial. So, he sent a note (with his mom), to me that simply said “Aunt Kathy, I am sorry Uncle Lloyd died.” That was 24 years ago and I still find that it comforts me. It truly affected me that a 10 year old thought to send me a note, and said something so appropriate and meaningful.

    • An  February 13, 2020 at 4:54 pm Reply

      Wow… I lost a 25 year old daughter most 10 years ago and that’s even painful to believe. But even I struggle not on what to say, what not to say b/c EVERYONE is different. I do love that your nephew just said “it”. Not, I’m sorry for your loss which is akin to saying I’m sorry your party was rained out: just not enough. No one has ever said, “I am sorry Tabby died or my cousin Tabby died, etc” although I KNOW they ARE sorry…

  36. Vanessa Hamilton  August 16, 2019 at 3:13 pm Reply

    My dear mother passed 1 month ago. I’m an only child. I had been caring for her in my home since her paralysis last December. I have never felt so alone. After hearing at least 100 times, “at least”, my pastor sent me a text saying simply, “you loved her well”. How powerful and comforting!

    • Lorella  September 1, 2019 at 1:58 pm Reply

      Vanessa, I am so sorry for your loss.
      You did such a beautiful and compassionate act in caring for your Mother. She will have known how much you loved her.

      I hope you will find comfort in knowing how much your gesture of love would have meant to her.

      I wish you much comfort and I send a hug.

    • Tab  December 30, 2020 at 12:37 am Reply

      Vanessa, I lost my mother recently. Like you, I was my mother’s caregiver. There is nothing like mother love and there never will be. I have never felt this kind of pain before in my life. But, I just want to remind you how much love you showed to her by taking her into your home and caring for her. Every act of caring for her, every hug, every communication let her know that you loved her dearly. Sometimes it helps me to hear this and sometimes it doesn’t: Her love for you didn’t end with her death.

      • IsabelleS  December 30, 2020 at 3:38 pm

        Tab, I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for taking the time to comment such beautiful words.

  37. Michelle  August 5, 2019 at 10:53 pm Reply

    Great things to do and say, I like them all and wish I had heard even one of them from my husband’s family after my beloved brother tragically ended his life nearly three months ago. I regrettably hosted a birthday party for my husband’s family five weeks after his death and even before the memorial service was held, and my husband’s sister and her husband came over as well. My husband had shared the news with them but I hadn’t personally spoken to any of them since it happened. Upon their arrival, they made themselves cozy and my BIL blurts out “What do you think of Robin Williams and mental health?” Are you freaking kidding me??? Then he proceeds to spew his atheistic viewpoints saying “There is no God, there are no miracles, blah blah blah.” Then he goes on to attack Christians and how they deface the planet and mistreat animals. Then he wanted to discuss they hypocrisy of the evangelicals supporting Trump. He knows I’m Christian and a Republican. No comforting words were ever said, nor did I even receive “I’m sorry for your loss”, nor a hug. Nothing – no acknowledgement of the loss of my brother.

    I had tried to leave at least once over the course of this happening and was sucked back in with a promise we would have friendly conversation. Never happened and just got worse. I finally yelled at my SIL and she exploded and ran off crying. Of course it was all my fault and now my husband’s toxic family thinks I’m the loony one. I have been traumatized over this and am in counseling.

    Stay away from all toxic people even if they have experience with loss. These nasty people are out of my life!!!

    • Lucy  August 18, 2019 at 11:58 pm Reply

      The first thing I’d like to say is I’m so sorry for the loss of your brother!! Secondly, my heart just breaks for you reading your post.?
      How insensitive!! I could never forgive that!
      Sending you much love?

    • Karissa  August 26, 2019 at 11:53 pm Reply

      I’m not sure what made me look at this site. Or even read the comments. But, you lost your brother, around the same time i lost mine it seems. Mine also took his own life. And the craziest part is you have the same name as his biological mother lol. I’m very sorry for your loss. Cutting out the toxic people in my life while grieving was incredibly difficult but rewarding in the end. Sometimes you have to distance yourself for the sake of your sanity. Losing a brother is an awful pain, but one day we’ll be okay again.

    • Laura Costa  November 7, 2019 at 6:33 pm Reply

      The words that come to mind are a combination of horror for your loss and then, the pain caused by the comments of others.

      It’s uncomfortable to host any sort of party after a great loss such as yours… maybe those guests also felt awkward and expressed this through their inappropriate statements.

      In my family culture, one would not come to a birthday party and directly offer sympathy while celebrating a birthday. I would be so confused and wonder why the birthday was taking place for an adult… perhaps it would be possible to manage a child’s party…

      Perhaps you need to give yourself permission to stop, , to grieve and to observe a period of mourning… the old expression of grief having priority may be wise.

      The in-laws simply need to know you are grieving and need to acknowledge the loss. If they do not… let your husband know they need to bring over meals and show support however they can manage.

      We go into shock and just try to keep going in our society . A friend of mine from India finds this shocking and expressed dismay at how American society expects people to take part in social events after suffering loss.

      You are entitled to grieve and not have to host parties for a year.

      May your faith being comfort to your heart during this sad time.

      • CS  November 18, 2019 at 5:26 pm

        Beautifully said, Laura.

  38. Joanne Waters  July 16, 2019 at 10:56 am Reply

    Lovely comment from my 8 year old nephew .. Will we have to get Dad and Jo adopted now they have lost their Mum and Dad? … Sometimes it is nice to laugh even when you feel totally sad and empty!

  39. Joanne Waters  July 16, 2019 at 10:53 am Reply

    Don’t be sad that you have lost your mum and dad so young … feel lucky that you had such special parents in the first place

    • gaha  September 16, 2019 at 6:46 pm Reply

      That sound dismissive and minimizes her pain

      • AshDud  March 6, 2020 at 5:17 pm

        hello everyone and I would like to apologize in advance, I mean no disrespect but speaking from my experience of losing both of my parents when I was a teenager do not ever tell people to be grateful for the time they had with their parents because that’s automatic, grieving does not mean that they are not grateful and means that they had such strong love and hopefully such a great relationship that it hurts even more. When you lose a parent or anyone you’re close to it takes even the smallest triggers to throw you back into grieving. So while I respect everyone’s opinion, do not be dismissive of someone’s pain and grief, Embrace and accept it and know that not only are their feelings valid but they can take as long as they damn well need

  40. Fiona  June 26, 2019 at 1:00 am Reply

    I thnk the most upsetting kind of response for me is one in which there is no hope: “Things will never be the same again,” or “You’ll never stop grieving.” Or simply staring soulfully at me while saying, “I’m sorry it’s so hard.” Shudder. That makes me feel more desolate than anything else could.

    Instead, I *want* others to share their own stories of grief with me. I *want* to know I’m not the only person who has felt this way. I want the to be reminded that every life must physically come to an end but that an emotional/spiritual bond carries on. I sometimes find “at least” statements helpful–especially, “at least she’s no longer in pain.” That’s true, and I’m deeply grateful for it. I want to hear, “We will get through this together” and “It’s okay to feel whatever you feel. We want to see you anyway.” But I’ve had times in my life when I was so beaten down myself that I couldn’t support anyone else in their grief. Now that it’s my turn again, I understand some people’s need to back away. Maybe one day we can reconnect.

    I guess what I’m saying is, what offends one person may be helpful or at least acceptable for another. I fear that creating “rules” for how people should respond to grief may do more harm than good, because people need different responses depending on their circumstances, values, temperament, etc., and they have varying tolerance levels, depending on their own experiences.

  41. Anna  June 7, 2019 at 9:52 pm Reply

    You were the light of his life

    • Ellie  November 3, 2019 at 7:37 am Reply

      He’d *adored* you

  42. Julie Stotlar  May 23, 2019 at 1:08 pm Reply

    My husband’s aunt and my personal experience after our 6 year old daughter was killed taught me these phrases. When you meet a friend or loved one who is grieving, never ask “How are you?” Instead sincerely say “ I am so glad to see you today.” Followed by a hug if appropriate. Similarly, if calling, say or leave this message, “I’m so glad to hear the sound of your voice! I love the sound of your voice.” Our accepted way of casually asking “How are you?”, even in the grocery store check out line, can be a devastating question to someone in the midst of mourning.

  43. Steve B.  May 13, 2019 at 11:24 am Reply

    When I go to a wake, I just say I am sorry and nothing else. If something else needs to be said I let the mourner say it. The grieving person may be in a daze and won’t remember most of what happened that day so why carry on a conversation with them unless they initiate it? At my mothers wake people sent a lot of flowers. While brothers and sisters where greeting guests I made it a point of viewing the beautiful flowers people sent for my mom. I am the one who handled my mom’s wake and funeral completely. The funeral director told me I was the only one who took the time to look at all the floral arrangements. People may not be able to say anything other than send floral memorials. At least those paying their respects sees a family member looking at the arrangements and reading the cards.

  44. abby  April 22, 2019 at 9:40 am Reply

    One of my close friends just lost her dad to an overdose, the same way she lost her mom. We’re only in sixth grade. i don’t know what to say or do. i didnt really know her dad. what would be a good idea for a gift?

    • Bonnie  May 9, 2019 at 11:04 am Reply

      Dear Abby, Hug your friend, tell her you love her, buy her a lovely “friend forever” card that she can hold and look at when she’s sad, don’t be afraid to just be with her when she cries and don’t try to stop her.

      • Ayla  November 28, 2019 at 7:49 am

        don’t buy them a gift, it makes them feel like the gift is only important because they lost there dad. it makes us feel as if your being rewarded for your dad/mums passing. seriously DONT

    • Rose  February 10, 2022 at 5:42 am Reply

      Dear Abby,
      I would have to disagree with one of the other responses on here. I just lost my daughter about a month ago, and by the way my son is in sixth grade as well, and he’s been dealing with the loss of his sister. She always loved butterflies 🦋. She said she felt like the yellow ones were her guardian angels as she was growing up. She also loved the sea turtles, so several people have given me and my son little butterfly cards, and cute little butterfly things, and someone gave my son, and I a little handmade ceramic sea turtle. They even gave him a stuffed animal sea turtle. He loves stuffed animals, so he was so excited to receive such a sweet gift, and he sleeps with it under his head every night. I don’t know if your friend does, but both my kids get a lot of comfort from soft “squishy” stuffed animals that they can hold onto at night. The ones that have meaning they will most likely keep forever! I still have a stuffed monkey someone gave me when my grams died when I was 7, and that was many years ago!!❤️So, again, I would disagree with the other person’s comment about not giving a gift. A meaningful gift given with love means a lot!

  45. JEFFREY ROBERTS  April 14, 2019 at 12:54 pm Reply

    The best advice I received was “Do not do things to try to recreate the past, for example Xmas dinners as it is impossible since Xmas will never be the same without your mother. Instead you have to create a Xmas tradition of your own.”. The worst thing I heard came after telling a friend about a comforting dream I had about my mom and he said; ” Geez, I wish you would just let that sweet woman rest in peace “! I responded ‘revisit that thought if you are ever in the position of having lost someone you loved so much. “

  46. alex  April 2, 2019 at 7:01 pm Reply

    Hi, So one of my best friend is losing his aunt. and I don’t know how to help him, he’s lost so many people and I just want to help him as much as I can, But I don’t know how

    • Jeff  April 14, 2019 at 5:35 pm Reply

      The best thing ypu can do is just be present and available. If he wants to talk just listen. There’s nothing you can change what he’s gpimg through. Just be there. Most people run for the hills because they don’t know what to say or do.

  47. Sue  March 18, 2019 at 12:49 am Reply

    Dave will never be far away. You will hurt and wonder how to go on but Dave will always be in your heart. Carry him with you.

  48. Dawn  March 2, 2019 at 11:02 pm Reply

    I just lost my mom two months ago. I would say a few things have helped. A friend who lost her daughter to a violent crime, has told me that we will always have a hole in our hearts, but the hole starts to be filled with more happy memories and less of the sadness around their deaths and loss. Believe it or not. I have loved the cards. Every card sent has been a treasure to me. Just knowing they cared enough to take the time to send one means the world to me. As far as what hasn’t helped. When people keep telling me she is close to me. I will feel her and she will send me signs she is still with me, that doesn’t help me. I don’t feel my mom at all. We never had a touchy, feely relationship, but I knew she loved me. I don’t even expect to feel her with me, but it does add to my grief when others say it as though everyone feels their loved one after they die. Also, I would ask that friends and family not presume to know or understand your relationship with the one you lost. When someone says to me that I wasn’t that close to my mom, that doesn’t help. Just because I didn’t spend every day with her or go shopping all the time doesn’t mean she didn’t have a very real and personal relationship. I am not upset at all with my well-meaning loved ones and friends. These are just some observations I have made in this very young experience I have had with grief.

    • Diana  May 31, 2019 at 7:38 pm Reply


      I lost my mom 2 months ago, as of today.

      I hope you are still taking the time you need to process through what has happened. I just wanted to say that it helped to know someone else had lived through this. I know everyone eventually loses their mom (unless she loses them first), but it doesn’t minimize or change the pain. I was what people would describe as “extremely close” with my mom…but I don’t know how much that does or doesn’t change the severing of one of the most important relationships of our lives.

      Thinking of you.

  49. Michelle  February 20, 2019 at 12:02 pm Reply

    I gave birth to twins it was a week before my due date after hours of my mum telling them i was in labour i gave birth to the first twin wich was a boy but he didn’t take a breath. Then they started me off with the second twin three hours later she was born breathing but not for long she lasted 45 minutes they were both over 5 pound in weight. That was a few years ago now but I never new what to say because of my babies one was breathing one wasn’t. Even when I speak of them now i get made to feel like am being stupid so I don’t speak about them i think of them night and day.

    • My heart goes out to you  May 14, 2019 at 7:31 pm Reply

      Michelle, I just read this now, and I know it is long after you posted, but I am so sorry for your loss. Reading your story made my heart sink. I can’t possibly imagine how I would cope with that kind of loss. Ever. And I can’t believe that you would be made to feel stupid about it. That is beyond horrible. You do not deserve that. The death of a child is something no one should have to experience, and the death of two newborn twins. You poor poor thing. My heart aches for you.

      I know that people don’t know how to respond to grief, and even more so if it falls outside of what we expect and know. It is easier somewhat if someone can say, “They had a good life,” or share stories. But the kind of tragedy you have experienced is so horrifying to people that they don’t know what to say. I suspect they feel stupid, or frightened, or uncomfortable. But this is through no failing on your part. This is a failure of them, of us.

      I am so sad that you have ever been made to feel stupid for your suffering. You are not.

    • LuluPot  May 25, 2019 at 7:05 am Reply

      Your children are your children. It doesn’t matter whether they took a breath or lived for 70 years. Both of your babies mattered and changed the world in their own unique way. It could be that others are purely too uncomfortable and does not know how to respond or how to comfort you, and that feeling is turned into feeling stupid. A grieving parent is never stupid. Your feelings might not be validated, but it is never stupid.

      I don’t really talk about my young adult son who ended his life a couple of years ago because of that same discomfort I can see and feel from others and will only share something where I’m emotionally safe. Those people are so far and few in between and that is just an additional sadness in loss.

    • Tammy  August 12, 2019 at 3:18 am Reply

      My niece is part of a wonderful support group that is helping her so much please go to hopemommies.org. She has a Facebook page named “Rilla Handmade” that is dedicated to my great niece . She makes hand crafted jewelry and donates 10% of her profits to Hope Box.

      My prayers are with you and I hope this helps you in some way and that you can in turn help others.

    • Tammy  August 12, 2019 at 3:28 am Reply

      My niece is part of a wonderful support group that is helping her so much please go to hopemommies.org.

      She has a Facebook page named “Rilla Handmade” that is dedicated to my great niece . She makes hand crafted jewelry and donates 10% of her profits to Hope Box.

      My prayers are with you and I hope this helps you in some way and that you can in turn help others.

  50. Mary  January 30, 2019 at 1:49 am Reply

    My brothers once said to me “Breathe. You’re ok. Breathe, Mar. Find your center. It’s there. You just have to find it.” I guess, this helped me a lot.

  51. Jeanette  December 28, 2018 at 10:52 am Reply

    About a week after my husband died suddenly of a cardiac arrest at 51, our apprentice came over with his kids. Grace, who was 4 at the time, came in and said, “We aren’t allowed to talk about Jack because it will make you sad.” Out of the mouths of babes. I told her to talk all she wanted about Jack, it was okay. Since that time periodically she will talk about him with her parents or me and it is always something profound. About a month ago she gave me a note after church written on an offering envelope that said, “I love you, Love Grace”. Lifts my spirits every time.

  52. lesley deehan  December 20, 2018 at 6:49 am Reply

    Lost my daughter aged 16,13 years ago this October just passed it was her 30th Birthday on 10th November we had a memorial party for her but I was really devastated in the afternoon I told a few family members I didn’t think I could go they told me to stop being a drama queen I’ve never felt so hurt and still do that my own family think and said this to me.

    • Sarah  February 13, 2019 at 4:20 pm Reply

      I’m so so sorry that ANYONE at all could say that to you.
      I’m sorry for your loss and you celebrate your Baby’s life and keep her memory alive and in your heart, for the rest of your life whenever you want to.
      Don’t let anger and hurt become what you associate the beautiful memory of your beloved and angelic daughter.
      The Lord is close to the broken hearted and comforts those that are crushed in spirit!

    • Heather  July 30, 2020 at 7:23 am Reply


      Wow. And, just….. my heart fell right through upon reading your post. Life brings knots, fractures and things that are so difficult to accept. In this case, I am only going to suggest you accept what they said, but not in the sense that it is okay at all. It is not. But the only way to go forward is to accept that they are human, they did say something excrusciatingly crass and painful to you about the worst thing we fear for our loved ones and children.
      Myself, I gave birth to a special needs doll, and almost did not make it home with me. But she did. 3 years later I divorced for physical abuse. I was awarded full custody. 10 years later, he decided to kidnap my child who had no explanation for what was happening, and I had no idea. I am still sick with worry. It has been 9 years, and living with no idea about her is hard enough, the not knowing. But the people who say, “It’s been 9 years Heather. You could have had more children, remarried. Time heals everything…” Now. Accept it, I did. Every moment. But not because it is okay, because it never will be. I do not know your family or friends who you rely on in difficult times and with the loss of your 16 year old daughter, but for myself, I accepted the words of people I had been very wrong about. And that, as well, was not my fault. They are human. However, my power was that in that moment, I turned away from them immediately and without response. And I never looked at them again. No answer, no reply, no motion. I feel like dying every day, all day. I cannot even function without her, worrying about her, knowing how he is at her. Powerless. Fear. She would now be 22, if she is still with us.

      You are not a drama queen. You are and always will be her mother. We cannot change the past. Our babies, their birthright that we are their wonderful mommies, cannot be erased, no matter what another does or says. I still do feel my baby; my…. adult… I am and will forever be lost. Nobody has ever offered me a celebration for her, but if they ever did and said to me as your friends said to you, I would say, “I could only go with those who support how I feel. As you clearly are not with me, then I kindly expect you to stay away from the celebration and from now on, actually. God be with you.”

      Love and light to you,

      Heather, another loving mother, like you <3

  53. Priscilla  December 17, 2018 at 5:02 pm Reply

    I really like the phrase, ” living on” as opposed to ” moving on”. My husband and I were in love from the age of 16,
    married at 21, and were parted in the physical sense 37 years later. That was 18 months ago, and I grieve every
    day. When people ask me how I am I say that I am better than I was early on, because I am. I also say that I am living with grief and still finding my footing; and that God is so good, because He is. Now I’m going to add that I am living on. This is hard and has hurt me more than anything ever has. I just keep saying to myself that God loves me and I’m going to be okay. I’ve told my adult children that we all have to be okay with not being okay for some time. It’s a very gradual process. I grieve with all of you for your deep and painful losses. But I have hope in Christ and am embracing the joy I have in the life my wonderful man and I built together. I also grieve for the life we will not have together here. My girlfriends have been wonderful to me and have said all the right things. Several have told me that I had the best marriage of anyone they knew. I think that, too. One friend said that it makes sense to her that I’m having such a hard time settling into this new life of mine. “Why wouldn’t it be hard, girlfriend? You’ve been in love with him since you were a child.” That was great. I’m having a hard time. I’m still in love with him. I haven’t lost him. God didn’t take him away from me. He welcomed my beloved home when he died. I’m sad, I’m sick sometimes, but I’m getting better and I’m living on. Thank you all and God bless and keep you all.

    • Chiniqua Johnson  January 8, 2019 at 12:17 pm Reply

      Thank you for this. I did not lose my husband, but I lost my dad to a drunk driver this October, 2018. Your post was very comforting. I love what you told your children…”We all have to be ok, with not being ok.” That is such a true statement. Your post is such a reminder to my family and I that God loves us. I will remember to tell myself that, because I and a lot of my family have been mad trying to figure out why. Thank you for your post! I will continue to pray for your family and you as you continue to deal with the loss of your husband and beloved family member. I hope that you find comfort in knowing that your post has helped someone else going thru grief as well.

    • Lillian Nelson  January 19, 2019 at 3:27 pm Reply

      I lost my husband and best friend last December. It has been 13 months now. I supported him through his illness always being positive for him. Yes, married 39 years, together 45 years. I thought support groups would help the numbness but I didn’t like the way I was trying to make everyone else in my group feel better.
      I still think he will walk through the door. Being alone is weird, I’m more disciplined but also feel I did a lot before was he was sick so my actions at home seem the same. Still go to work caring for others. I read your post and felt your grief, so I must no be a numb as I thought.

  54. Merrily  December 14, 2018 at 10:36 am Reply

    When my son with lifelong disabilities died at 20 a woman in my disability community, also mom of a similar adult child, wrote a letter to me. She wrote it as my son saying thank you for taking special care of him all his life and advocating for him and others while loving him unconditionally. That letter was a true gift. I have now done the same when another similar death affects a caring mom or dad.

  55. Patty  December 9, 2018 at 10:54 am Reply

    When I told one of my friends I was worried about the emotion of my partner’s death making me too “blubbery” at her remembrance she said “bring it on!” It was a wonderful affirmation of her willingness to bear witness with me.

  56. Deborah  December 5, 2018 at 2:47 pm Reply

    My partner lost his 44 yr old daughter 3 days ago. I only met her twice and the last time was for a week. He has been divorced from the mom for many many years. He has all this pain about not being there enough, although from what I have heard he did as much as he could. He has a relationship with his daughters kids, but her x ( abusive alcoholic ) would not let him see the kids. Plus his x wife is with a man who wants to be the hero ( another alcoholic) who talks behind his back and lies. He gets along fine with the mother of their daughter but she of course has only been there watching her daughter die. I’m a counselor , nurse, and in love with this dad who is blaming himself for so much… All beyond his control. He has no $ he lost his business in 2008 . The cancer started in 2014, in fact that’s when we became friends. The mom, and son and daughter did not inform him that she then had seizures and a brain tumor that caused paralysis. They kept him out of the loop.

  57. Chris  November 26, 2018 at 8:13 am Reply

    Lost my 29 year old son to sudden cardiac arrest Sep 4th this year. I wouldn’t know what to say to someone in the same situation, and that’s what I tell people who say they don’t know what to say. Just acknowledgement and I’m sorry is enough to hear. And I understand those I come across unexpectedly in a store and they don’t acknowledge, just give me a surprised look. Usually a short how are you from both sides, fine, and go our separate ways. Those close enough know and have said things from the list. “Living forward”, always thinking about my son except when I can keep myself very busy, is extremely hard. Grief counseling is a help. Just don’t know what to do with myself “all the other time”. My husband and daughter and myself all going through our own grief in the house together. I’ve always been “the glue”, but right now just want to curl up and stay there most of the time. WE don’t even know what to say to each other.

    • Georgi  December 16, 2019 at 1:25 am Reply

      Chris, I too lost my 25yr old son to sudden cardiac arrest on Sept 7th of this year. I am lost. I have 2 daughters who are wonderful and as present in this as I am & another son who has separated himself completely & is grieving alone. My husband of 32 years and I are grieving very differently, as I was there when he was pronounced and he was away with work. The horror of seeing Jacob die is with me every single second. All extended family were there until the funeral… for everyone else life has gone on. I feel stuck, alone, a mess. I just miss him so much, he was my “mama’s boy” my over achiever, my sweetheart, my clown…. my joy. It’s been 3 months of pure hell. How do you go on? I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, but I feel so very empty inside. I pray you have found some comfort.. There is absolutely NOTHING worse than losing a child. 🙁

  58. Jennifer  September 27, 2018 at 12:26 pm Reply

    Ironically, the best comment I have ever heard comes from my nine year old niece… who simply states “I cry for Uncle Patrick because I loved him”

    Just a reminder… the simplistic outlook of a child is far more truthful and pure … than anything an adult who over analyzes trying to come up with the best one-liner to make themselves feel better and ends up saying all the wrong things !

  59. Rob  September 27, 2018 at 10:10 am Reply

    During a particularly rough time when I didn’t think I could go on, a friend said
    “please remember your record of survival to date is 100%”. That allowed me to recognize that indeed I was still going through my grief and yet it hadn’t stopped me from “living forward”. (I prefer that to “moving on”)

  60. Anne E Krause  September 24, 2018 at 1:17 am Reply

    Julia, that sounds perfect to me.

  61. Cindy W  September 23, 2018 at 1:15 pm Reply

    I like to share the thought “Trust that someday the sun will come out again.” It acknowledges that it is dark and stormy now, but there is hope. I base it off some holocaust poetry that was uncovered in the Warsaw ghetto “I believe in the sun even when it is not shining. I believe in love even when there’s no one there.”

  62. Julie W Dickey  September 22, 2018 at 6:14 pm Reply

    They miss hugs, hearing ILU, compliments, watch TV & eating with another human being. So if you’re comfortable give them a hug when you see them, make plans such as every other Thursday to meet & eat, or have coffee, watch a tv show, go to movie etc…

  63. Julie Dickey  September 22, 2018 at 6:08 pm Reply

    NOT to say/do:
    1. “You took my dad away from me ”
    2. “Suck it up”
    3. “Get over it” I will never get over “IT” as “it” is “him” my 53y/o husband who suffered a brain aneurysm while we were kissing. I don’t want to get over him. I am who I am today because of 33 yrs with him & I don’t want to forget a day of it!
    4. Take over/take charge, be bossy, demanding, blaming or accusing the griever while the critical crisis, funeral/ planning, are happening. They probably will not be themselves, due to being in shock, PTSD, depressed, emotional rollercoaster, terrified, u don’t know what they saw & how its affected them. They’re living out the worst nightmare of their life & there’s no waking up from it. Walking around in a fog. Don’t judge! Or gossip! Or talk about “if it was me, I’d done…, can’t believe she is so distant, I’d be crying my eyes out,” you don’t know how you’ll react until its U in a critical crisis.
    5. Don’t criticize/critique the funeral plans/service. Or their appearance!

    OKAY to say/do
    1. Any good, funny, happy, kind memories of your lost one.
    2. I received a card on the 1yr anniv of his death. It meant the world to me as everyone else has gone on with life & have forgotten about him/me.
    3. Rekindling of old school girlfriend whose divorced. [When you’re young its hard to find a new set of single, divorced women/just friends to hang with occasionally.
    4. Ask if they’ve thought about counseling. Or if in group therapy/counseling already… ask how its going.
    5. Try to at least mark your phone calendar with 1st or more anniversary of death, bday, holidays, special days that are super difficult/depressing to get thru. Call, send card/note, bring flowers/food. Just remember at least 1st death anniversary.
    6. Just come over & do helpful things. Clean, carpool kids, mow lawn. Offer to help with ALL the paperwork. They may need to look for assistance SSI, Food stamps etc. Take & fax, copy, mail for them as follow thru of such things tend to be put off.
    7. If widow, ask if there’s house, lawn, repair work needed or come buy & take a look. Arrange a rotation group to mow or check on widow.
    8. Anyone can offer to pick them up/meet & grab a bite to eat/coffee, pay for it if possible. The griever has difficulty eating meals alone, failure to eat/stay healthy as they’ve lost drive to keep going. When u cook a meal make a to go plate for widow.
    9. If you’ve experienced this pain… you know family, friends, couples, tend to part ways, avoid griever, assist with needs. If possible plan small get togethers, cookout, pizza place, & invite just 1 or 2 others.
    10. Griever probably will the 1st yr/maybe longer will have difficulty, attending large, couple, group events, holiday, parties wedding, funerals… offer to go together, carry handkerchief, tissue, stay close by, help with mingling, socializing.
    11. We had a great friend waiting at funeral home Entrance when we arrived to make final arrangements. That was extremely thoughtful & comforting. they’d had experience with funeral planning already & offered suggestions.

    • Kiva Marie  February 2, 2019 at 9:03 am Reply

      I’m so sorry that people have said (and done) such horribly insensitive things to you. Those are some of the rudest comments I’ve truly ever heard. They sound like bitter, shallow people, intent on hurting you. You don’t deserve that. We both know that.

      Thank you for the suggestions of what would be helpful. I do hope that you have people in your life who’ve shown their concern and kindness to you in those ways, and more. And I’m sorry for your loss.


  64. Barbara  September 20, 2018 at 10:20 pm Reply

    In my bereavement group, the group is in support of those that have lost a child. One of the other mother’s said to me, “Make friends with your grief, because it will always be with you”. That is so true.

  65. Maureen Jivani  September 20, 2018 at 3:41 am Reply

    “i’m Here for you and not just today but forever,’
    “ You can be as miserable as you like around me for as long as you need to be’.

  66. Helen Wynn  September 19, 2018 at 7:47 pm Reply

    How about this loving comment from my brother when I said I was beside my with grief and needed his help (emotional support) after my husband died: “What’s the matter, you can’t handle it after your playmate died?” Or maybe, “What did you expect? He was so much older than you.” Or, “Gee it wasnt til after you cancelled your husband’s military ceremony internment, that I realized that you were upset about his passing!” Really? These are just some of the nice things people have said to me and no, I am not a complainer or a nasty person. People just think I am strong and have not wanted to put themselves out.

    • lynn  December 30, 2018 at 2:35 pm Reply

      what horrible things to say. I am sorry!

  67. Janet Johnson  September 19, 2018 at 6:06 pm Reply

    When my 28 yr. old nephew died from an accidental drug overdose and his asshat father (sis’s ex) refused to help us pay our expenses (even though he had insurance on the child) my cousin who didn’t even know Josh, sent us a check for $300 and also pretty much summed up our feeling about the ex. What a great feeling to know someone was in our corner. Also, a lovely lady from our church told me, that my sister was so BRAVE for listing in our obituary for him that he died from an accidental overdose and depression. That really touched me. But, generally, people are stupid

  68. Rochelle Seaton Garcia  September 19, 2018 at 6:04 pm Reply

    I have a few that bring me comfort:
    1. Another widow told me that you don’t ever “move on”, you “live on”.
    2. I found comfort in reading somewhere that you will always be his wife, he will always be your husband. You will always have the love he shared with you.
    3. Your loved one is not just part of your past, they are part of your future in eternity.
    4. We will walk with you thru this, we are in this together.

  69. Pauline  September 19, 2018 at 5:19 pm Reply

    A friend often tells me how, when she’s out fell-running (alone) in the hills, she still expects to see Stuart somewhere on the trails.

  70. Tina Derke  September 19, 2018 at 5:11 pm Reply

    A neighbor wrote me a note and said, “whatever words you long to hear that will give you comfort, consider them said.”. I thought that was the most beautiful and loving thing to say and it truly touched my heart.

  71. Julia  September 19, 2018 at 12:45 pm Reply

    One of the best things someone has said was, “I’m not sure what we can do beyond acknowledging one another’s sadness and knowing we share it.” ♡


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