What Do You Say to Someone Who Has Lost a Loved One?

My aunt Johnny Mae was a character. She was a striking petite woman with tawny skin and fiery red hair. She loved to talk. She was quite the conversationalist. She wasn’t afraid to question you and to share her opinions. She had this peculiar way of examining people with her eyes. You might consider it evasive, but it made me chuckle. Her inquisitive nature humored me. She was so curious about everything. She was fun and funny. You could always count on her for a laugh and the truth.

This morning, I learned she passed away and I was heartbroken. She was eldest of my mom’s seven siblings. Last fall, she had a stroke that hindered her ability to speak and walk. It seemed she was slowly making a comeback. But at only 72 she passed.

Since my father’s passing 10 years ago, I’ve lost many loved ones and known friends who’ve lost loved ones. It’s one of the most atrocious things you can go through in life. I just have no other way to describe it. I’ve tried to figure out what’s the perfect set of comforting words to say during such a tragedy. What can I say to lessen the pain? What can I say to heal the heart? What can I say to offer some relief? There are no perfect set of words. The best thing you can say is “I’m here for you. I love you.” And that’s exactly what I said to my mom when I wrapped my arms around her this morning.

I encourage anyone who knows others who have lost someone to do the same thing. Tell them you’re there to support them. When I lost my dad, I had friends who said nothing, friends who probably said too much and friends who did just what I’m telling you. It’s such a difficult thing to go through, we don’t always know the right thing to say to others, but take comfort in knowing God has our backs.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18), and God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear (Psalm 46:1-2). One of the most incredible things about God is how he’s there for us, always. He sustains us and he cares deeply (Psalm 55:22).

For those of you who’ve lost someone or know someone who has lost someone, I pray your souls are comforted.

Thanks for reading and stay positive!

Struggling for the right words to say? Try this: “I’m sorry for your loss. I’m here for you, you’re in my thoughts and prayers.”


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