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Expert Grief Support

Unfortunately we all experience loss at some point in our lives. With it comes the grief of losing a loved one and the void they leave in our lives. The way in which we deal and cope with that grief though will differ from person to person. But one thing that we all need is the support and help of family and friends. Struggling with a bereavement alone is a burden no one should have to endure.

If you know someone coping with a loss it can be hard to know what to do. You want to comfort them, offer support and try to help in any way you can. But knowing what to say or do, what’s appropriate and what isn’t, and how to best be there for them during such a difficult time is itself tricky.

In order to try and help understand the right way to approach such a tough subject we reached out to some of the top grief professionals and counsellors and asked them their advice on how best to support someone who is grieving. We were overwhelmed with the responses. The answers were insightful, practical and went above and beyond in the detail they included. In fact this article is now over 6000 words long (and even has some video content)!

So please have a read of the answers below for a huge range of incredible advice and tips. And if you’re looking for extra support or help dealing with grief and loss then a good place to start is the websites found in the author bios of each contributor.

Dr Jill Grossdr Jill GrossTom GoldenTom GoldenMarty Tousleydr Marty TousleyDr Arielle Schwartzdr Jill Scott
Dr Melissa EstavilloDr Melissa EstavilloAshley MielkeAshley MielkeDebbie RambisDebbie RambisJimmy EdmondsJane Harris
Dr Erin ThompsonDr Erin Hope ThompsonMeg EifrigMeg EifrigVictoria JonesVictoria Moore JonesSusan HarrisonSusan Harrison
Shirley EnebradShirley EnebradGary RoeGary RoeTammy AdamsTammy AdamsAdriana MarchioneAdriana Marchione
Kristi HugstadKristi HugstadVirginia A. SimpsonVirginia SimpsonMelinda RuppertMelinda RuppertGeorgena EgglestonGeorgena Eggleston
Robbie KaplanGary RoeTeresa DonigerTeresa DonigerTony McLarenBreathing Space LogoDr Tina BarrettDr Tina Barrett
Yvonne TullochYvonne TullochJanet RobertsJanet Roberts

Dr Jill Gross - Psychologist, Grief Counselor, Therapist


Reaching out/Bringing It Up/Acknowledge The Loss: People often refrain from contacting the bereft because they are afraid of upsetting him or her. Your loved one is already upset—what better time to hear from a trusted friend? I’ve heard so many grievers say they would rather their friends say the wrong thing than say nothing at all.

Listen: You can’t take your loved one’s pain away. Your loved one knows this. Grief longs to be witnessed and attentive listening is a way to show your loved one that you care.

Send a card: Sending a card is a respectful, pleasant surprise for those who may need some space but still want to know they are thought of. Do this about a month after the memorial or funeral service is over, the loved ones have gone home, and the casseroles have stopped coming, as this is one of the loneliest time for mourners. It’s also nice to send cards on birthdays, anniversaries, and/or any other occasion that may remind your loved one of the person s/he lost.

Sharing positive memories: Not only does talking about the deceased validate your loved one’s grief, it connects them with the things they loved most about the person they lost. If you didn’t personally know the deceased, encourage your friend to talk about a favorite characteristic, quirk, or memory involving the deceased.

Drop off food/flowers: Hunger is a basic sign of our aliveness. Providing food is a loving way to acknowledge and nurture your loved one’s aliveness when he or she may not be able to do this for him or herself. If your friend associates a certain dish our cuisine with the deceased person, surprise your loved one by dropping that dish off, with a card and flowers.

Take nothing personally: Grief is a highly individualized process and has little to do with anyone but the griever. Further, none of us is our best selves when we are acutely grieving. Thus, two of the best gifts we can give mourners are patience and grace. Much of what people do when they are grieving isn’t personal; try not to take it personally.

Donations to charity in the deceased’s honor: This is a lovely idea, particularly if the cause also means something to the griever.

Tom Golden, LCSW - Psychotherapist, Grief Educator & Author


Marty Tousley - Grief Counselor


First, learn about the grief experience, and let go of some of the harmful myths you may have heard about grief and healing. Don’t assume that the person who seems to be experiencing little pain is “doing well” with grief. Take some time to review your own personal experiences of death and grief, recalling who died, what was helpful and not helpful to you, and how you felt about it.

Acknowledge the loss. Either in person, by telephone or in writing, let the mourner know who you are, how you became aware of the loss and that you care.

Listen with your heart, with honest concern and curiosity, respectfully and without judging, without criticism, without giving advice, without being the expert with all the answers.

Understand the uniqueness of grief: Everyone is different, and is shaped by experiences in his or her own life.

Be patient; the grief process takes a long time; let the mourner proceed at his or her own pace.

Recognize that, although you cannot take the pain of loss away, you can enter into it with the person and hold space for him or her.

Remain available long after the death occurs, when the mourner will need you the most.

Dr Arielle Schwartz, PhD


We are not meant to grieve alone. Grief is deeply vulnerable, profoundly raw, and at it’s core a social communication. When we show up for another the most important thing we can offer is our presence. Simply that. It is not necessary to say the “right” thing because there is no “right” thing to say. It is not necessary to have the answer because there are no answers. It is important to simply let the other know that we are there and that we are not afraid. The other needs to know that they do not have to take care of us in their time of grief. Sometimes this involves being there and sitting in silence, breathing or offering a nod of reassurance. Sometimes this involves attending to the needs of the moment. Like doing the laundry or the dishes–attending to the details of daily living by keeping a sense of normalcy and rhythm within the environment. Overall, holding space for someone in grief is about attending to the outer container so that the the person in grief can go on the inward journey needed during this vulnerable time.

Dr Melissa Estavillo - Clinical Psychologist and Counselling


For many of us, the word grief is something that brings up a vast array of emotions from pain and confusion, to discomfort and avoidance. As Americans of the 21st century, we are blessed to live in a country and time that can shield us from the pain and loss frequently felt by others of another time or another place. Our great fortunate has allows many of us to live long and healthy lives; however, often leaves us at a loss for words when the tragedy of loss or death does occur.

Older theories of grief leave us with a basic framework of loss but fail to paint the real picture of what normal grief looks like or what we can do to help. One of the first and most well known theorists on grief, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, identified 5 stages of grief which she sated we progress through in a linear order: first Denial, then Anger, on to Barganing, leading to Depression, and ending with Acceptance. And while many of these emotions are felt by a grieving person, this cannot begin to capture the true essence of an individual’s process of grief. At lease it did not for Dr. Kubler-Ross, who on her death bed expressed the combined feelings of fear, anger, confusion, and peace, a grouping of emotion that only true grief can combine.

Like many things in life, grief is complex. It is an entity with very little edges, boundaries or similar pathways. It comes, it goes, and can surprise us 5 months, 5 years, and even 50 years later. It is a journey that no two individuals can experience in the same way, even in the face of the same loss.

Therefore, the question is often raised as to how we can experience this complicated emotion and how can we be there for others going through it.

  1. Grief is like a wound. It cannot heal if it is not allowed to air out. Allow yourself and others the space to grieve freely; however that may look and whenever it may come out.
  2. Grief takes time. Just about the time we may feel that we are over a loss, we can be flooded with grief again. Like waves washing up onto the shore, our grief may come and go. And like a scar, though healed, will always leave a mark.
  3. Grief cannot be fixed. Instead it is a journey that we must go though without short cuts or fast tracks. While spiritual sayings, religious scripture, and more positive thinking may feel like the perfect antidote to help people come to terms with the pain of grief, it often times is not. Though these things may be true at their core, when said as a means to bypass grief or damper the tension that true grief brings, it cheapens their meaning and trivializes the feelings of those in pain.
  4. Grief is healthy. Grief that leaves us in a state of confusion, plummets us into the depths of sadness, makes us question our deepest beliefs, and shake our fists in anger and rage–this grief is the mark of our humanity, the evidence of our ability to love and lose and love again. Respect its complexity. Sit in its tension. Just listen.

For those of us who have lost: Imprint Exercise

Often we do not take the time to reflect on how an individual has impacted our lives and influenced parts of who we are. Although our loved one is gone, parts of them remain alive and vibrant in each of us. Many of these imprints may be wonderful and some may be painful too. Take some time to reflect on the imprints that these individuals have left on your life in the following ways.

  1. My love one has impacted my mannerisms and gestures in the following ways:
  2. My loved one has impacted my way of speaking and communicating in the following ways:
  3. My love one has impacted my work and pastime activities in the following ways:
  4. My loved one has impacted my basic personality in the following ways:
  5. My loved one has impacted my values and beliefs in the following ways:
  6. My loved one has impacted my feelings about myself in the following ways:

Ashley Mielke, B.A., M.Sc. MFT - Psychologist & Certified Grief Recovery Specialist


Grieving people want and need to feel heard, feel seen, and feel felt. It is so important to hold space for them to share their feelings and speak their emotional truth without judgement, criticism, or analysis. It is difficult for us to witness pain and suffering in those we care about, so naturally we wish to mend those feelings by offering advice or intellectualizing their grief. Instead of saying comments like, “don’t worry, it’ll be okay, “just give it time”, or “keep busy”, we really just need to listen with our hearts and provide a space that is safe to share and express normal and natural feelings. This expression, in a trusting relationship, is an essential key to our emotional healing. It doesn’t take any special skills or training to listen from the heart, it just takes a willingness to let go of the need to make everything better for the other person. Simply offering a hug and saying nothing at all can be a powerful act of love, acceptance, and compassion.

Debbie Rambis - Executive Director at The Compassionate Friends


Helping someone who has lost a child, grandchild, or sibling can be very perplexing to others who have not experienced such a devastating loss. Because it is generally a loss that occurs outside of the natural order of life, we ourselves do not know how to tell someone to help us. No one wants to think about losing any loved one! But as our grandparents and parents age, we start to plan even though it is nothing we want. You may have experience times when you mind has sidetracked itself wondered how you might take on holidays without the support of our parents or grandparents. But, when someone starts to think of losing a child, one’s mind immediately stops and changes focus as no one ever wants to think about this! Due to this, all of us are totally unprepared in knowing how to grieve or knowing how to support someone who is grieving.

My best advice is to be proactive. If you say, “Call me if you need anything,” you are likely to never receive a call. After my son’s drowning, I did not want to get out of bed. However, life around me went on. The mail started to stack up in the mailbox, the trash needed emptied, and things in the refrigerator went stale. If you are close enough, stop by and explain you are there for only a few minutes to empty trash, tidy the bathroom, and start a load of clothes. If you are too far away, contact one of the many food delivery services, such as Uber Eats or Grub Hub, to provide a warm, already prepared meal.

One of the most important ways to support is simply to remember. That sounds like a very easy one but you may not realize all that needs remembered. For example, for over a year every week when it was Wednesday (the day my son drowned) was horrible. For years, I always cringed on the second of every month, the date he drowned. As our mind come to terms with the finality, it you remember these triggers, you can make it softer for us. To do this, make a calendar reminder to send an email, to do a quick text, or to make a phone call. The message does not need to be lengthy but rather simply letting the person know you are thinking of them and the loved one that died.

Just be there for the person grieving. You do not have to say anything. It is enough to be present and to offer a should to lean on. Do not be afraid to say their name or to recall a fond memory. We will cry but you are not making us sad. The best present is to say their name! Finally, remember that No One Need Walk Alone. The Compassionate Friends is there to provide support to parents, grandparents, and siblings who have lost a child at any age from any cause.

Jane Harris & Jimmy Edmonds - The Good Grief Project


We always say in our Q&As after screenings that the greatest help is when people come alongside us in our grief, rather than trying to make us better (which is often for their benefit so they don’t have to worry for us any more). There is no getting better, it’s about finding a place inside you where your grief can live, as part of you and finding acceptance of that.

Dr Erin Hope Thompson - Director of The Loss Foundation


When people don’t know what to say to someone who is grieving they may say nothing at all or offer platitudes, e.g. “Time is a healer”. Or they may not want to bring it up in case it upsets the person they are speaking to, however, we suggest it’s better to not go quiet on loss, and encourage people to say something rather than nothing. Instead of trying to find the “right” thing to say, reach out to someone to let them know you are thinking of them, or to let people know that you don’t know what to say but that you are there for them. If you have any memories of the person who died, it can be really nice for those left behind to hear them. It reminds them that the person they loved lives on in the memory of others.

Meg Eifrig, MA - Licensed Clinical Professional Counsellor


Continue to show up for the grieving person. Often times the person who is grieving does not have the energy to reach out or return your call/text/email. Please don’t take this personally. Continue to call/text periodically, but don’t overwhelm. This lets the person know you have not forgotten them and that you plan to be there even after most people have moved on into their day to day lives. You can even write, is it OK for me to keep reaching out to you? Instead of asking “how are you?” You can say,” I am here to listen whenever you are ready.” Or I will stop by on (specific date) and bring some groceries or a meal. There are times when grieving people need some space and times when they just need someone to be there with them, even if it is to sit in silence. If visiting them is an option, make a point of doing that. If you are bringing them something, let them know it is ok if they are not up for a visit. You can leave your gift or food in their mailbox or in a cooler. Make sure they know nothing is required of them.

One of the many struggles for grievers is that they often do not know what they need or how to articulate it. Make time to find out what your grieving person needs. Perhaps there is a way for them to let you know when they want to talk about their loss and a way for them to let you know when they don’t. In my work, I sometimes hear clients say that they appreciate when someone asks questions first. For example,” I have a video/photo of your loved one. Would you like me to send it to you now or would that be too hard today?” This allows for the person to say, “Hey not today but please keep that video or photo for when I am ready.” It can take some time for the grieving person to
re-orient themselves enough to figure out how to express their needs. Be patient.

Victoria Moore-Jones - Life Coach & Grief Specialist


The best possible thing you can do in any situation of loss and grief when trying your best to help, is to just LISTEN. Be there and just be someone who can offer empathy and a listening ear. Everyone usually does the opposite, and this causes so many long term problems as well as leaving the griever feeling isolated and alone. Well meaning people often inadvertently cause harm by saying some euphemism of some sort or trying to fix or advice. Grievers do not need this as they are grieving, they are not broken. Just listen to how they feel and continue offering no words of advice just hugs abound and words of empathy as and when needed. Try to make sure your loved one is not left alone as being around people is the best thing after loss, not isolation or ‘time alone.’
These things offer a simple and very powerful first response to aid those in grief.

Susan K. Harrison - Coordinator of Spiritual Care, Erie Shores


LISTEN, Listen and listen some more
Be willing to sit with a grieving person in silence, let them talk when they want, let them express whatever emotions they are feeling (without judgment)
Invite a grieving person to tell you stories about the person they lost; some ways to encourage those stories are to ask curious questions like: how did you and your loved one spend time together? Did they have a sense of humor? Did they have a nick name for you? What will you/are you missing most about them? Did they have any quirky characteristics or habits?
Recognize that grief is a normal healthy response to loss, not an illness we need to cure or fix.
Grief comes to everyone uniquely; for some grief comes in waves, for others it shows up in fits and starts, for some it is sadness, for others it shows up as anger, for others it may be a compulsive need to clean or organize; everyone’s grief is different, and their way of grieving is normal for them, even if it’s different than how we would do it.
For many people grief feels like a fog in the early weeks and months – they may not be themselves personality wise, or their habits change, or they may seem extra forgetful, and it’s hard to make decisions – even little mundane decisions — they need our patience and understanding
Grief takes time, and for many it feels like the world is rushing them to “get over it” just when they are starting to come out of the initial fog. Many people get lots of support in the initial days and weeks after a loss, but they are hurting just as much 3+ months later, and they need us to be able to listen and be present to their sadness and loss, as much as the earlier days.
Remember grieving people especially at the holidays, birthdays, anniversary dates – not just the first year after a loss, but consecutive years after a loss.
When we lose someone we also lose access to their friends and their work place stories/acquaintances, extended family connections, and other social circles they were a part of and brought to our own lives — sometimes we lose access to social status or our place of residence and other big lifestyle changes – this makes our losses so much bigger than the loss of that individual relationship.

Shirley Enebrad - Author, Speaker, and Certified Grief Counselor


In my opinion, the best way to support a person who is grieving is when you write the note in the sympathy card offer to be there to listen whenever he or she is ready to talk about the death and what emotions are coming to the surface. “It’s okay to feel angry, sad, relieved, hopeless, confused or whatever, so just know that I will be here night or day to listen. I care and I want to help.” You can also tell him or her that you will check-in periodically to see how he or she is feeling, and then do it.

Gary Roe -
Author, Speaker, and Grief Specialist


Show up and listen. Be quick to listen and slow to speak. In fact, you don’t have to say anything at all. Just your presence is a huge gift. A kind hand on the shoulder, a warm hug, and a compassionate look in your eyes can speak volumes. Don’t try to fix it. This can’t be fixed. Don’t try to make them feel better. You won’t be able to. Instead, put all your agendas aside and, as much as possible, enter their world and walk with them in their grief. Even if you only do this for a few seconds, most likely they will feel cared for and supported. This is one definition of love – meeting people where they are and walking with them in their stuff.

Adriana Marchione - Filmmaker, Arts Therapist and Educator


I would not say that I’m an expert on grief, but I do know grief and loss from a very intimate perspective having experienced the loss of my husband at a young age. My late husband was a musician and I myself am an artist and arts therapist with close to 30 years of experience working in the language of the arts. When I had to face devastating loss, it was affirmed to me that the arts could help lighten the emotional weight. The arts in general can offer release and deepen understanding about life’s most difficult situations by expressing one’s feelings through music, song, paint, poetry, dance. We are given the opportunity through creativity to tell our story of loss with an honest voice. Shakespeare appeals to us as someone who knew grief intimately, “Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak Whispers o’er the fraught heart and bids it break.” It is important to remember that we are built for loss. It is an inevitable part of life, and if we can find resources to help us move through it, true healing can happen. The arts are an ancient language, primal and accessible to us all. Our modern society often doesn’t respect the time we need to grieve or make transitions, but art helps us get beyond time and ordinary reality. Creativity allows us to listen more deeply to what needs to be felt and expressed. We can take art in through books, poetry, theater, film, or let expression out by journaling, drawing, dancing, singing and the list goes on. Art has never let me down; it has been a safe and steady companion through life, and a refuge in grief.

Tammy Adams -Certified Grief Recovery Method® Specialist


In our North American culture we have been socialized as a society to believe that life is about “getting” things. Regardless of the education or experience the majority of us have not been taught or prepared to deal with “losing” things. We fail to realize that grief is emotional and we do our best to support others from an intellectual perspective. While the cause of the loss is intellectual. To the person who is affected it is 100% emotional. It is not their mind that is broken it is a heart that is broken.

Grief is a normal and natural reaction, the feelings you and I have following a loss are also normal and natural. The problem is we have all been socialized to believe that these feelings are abnormal and unnatural. We are supported with tools that were never designed to move individuals through their pain to the other side of their grief.

The most important thing to understand is that there are not stages of grief that every griever will experience. Each and every broken relationships will be grieved on an individual basis based on the griever’s unique relationship with that person.

4 out of 5 things grievers hear after a loss are not helpful. A study released in 1984 concluded that there are 141 comments that are so common that there is a 95% chance that a grieving person is likely to hear most of them within 72 hours of the death of a loved one. Of these 141 comments only 19 comments are actually helpful because they are being offered from an intellectual perspective.

Things to NEVER say

  • I know how you feel
  • Be strong for…
  • Be grateful you had them so long
  • Keep busy
  • He or she had a full life
  • It was just God’s will
  • You should be over it by now
  • It just takes time

Things TO say

  • I can’t imagine how you must be feeling
  • I can’t imagine how heartbreaking…that must be for you?
  • What was your relationship like?
  • Could you tell me about it?
  • What happened?
  • How did you find out?

In the end grievers just want to be heard. The best support you can offer a griever is to be “a heart with ears”. No criticism, suggestions, or analysis. Just simply to listen, for as long as it takes.

Kristi Hugstad - Grief Recovery Specialist


Sometimes just a display of affection, a hug, holding their hand, offering a shoulder to cry on, is more powerful than anything you can say.
Instead of saying, “call me if you need anything, I’m here for you” just show up. Be there without them having to ask. Bring them food, mow the lawn, observe what they need help with and make sure it gets done. Recruit friends and neighbors and assign tasks. This way everyone feels they are doing whatever they can to express their love and concern.

Virginia A. Simpson, Ph.D., FT - Bereavement Care Specialist


Through my work and the privilege of listening to so many stories, I have come to wonder where people get their ideas about how another person is supposed to grieve. Here’s a test for you:

1. How long does it take to recover after someone you love has died?
2. When should a person begin to “get on with their lives?”
3. Do you think it’s better to mention the deceased’s name to the grieving person or to avoid mentioning the name so that you won’t make that person cry?
4. Do you think it’s a good idea to tell a grieving person how strong they are?

You can figure out the answers to these questions by understanding what grieving people want you to know about them.

1. I am not strong. I’m just numb. When you tell me I am strong, I feel that you don’t see me.
2. I will not recover. This is not a cold or the flu. I’m not sick. I’m grieving and that’s different. I will not always be grieving as intensely, but I will never forget my loved one and rather than recover, I want to incorporate his life and love into the rest of my life. That person is part of me and always will be, and sometimes I will remember him with joy and other times with a tear. Both are okay.
3. I don’t have to accept the death. Yes, I have to understand that it has happened and it is real, but there are just some things in life that are not acceptable.
4. Please don’t avoid me. You can’t catch my grief. My world is painful, and when you are too afraid to call me or visit or say anything, you isolate me at a time when I most need to be cared about. If you don’t know what to say, just come over, give me a hug or touch my arm, and gently say, “I’m sorry.” You can even say, “I just don’t know what to say, but I care, and want you to know that.”
5. Please don’t say, “Call me if you need anything.” I’ll never call you because I have no idea what I need. Trying to figure out what you could do for me takes more energy than I have. So, in advance, let me give you some ideas:

(a) Bring food.
(b) Offer to take my children to a movie or game so that I have some moments to myself.
(c) Send me a card on special holidays, birthdays (mine, his or hers), or the anniversary of the death, and be sure and mention her name. You can’t make me cry. The tears are here and I will love you for giving me the opportunity to shed them because someone cared enough about me to reach out on this difficult day.
(d) Ask me more than once to join you at a movie or lunch or dinner. I may say “no” at first or even for a while, but please don’t give up on me because somewhere down the line, I may be ready, and if you’ve given up, then I really will be alone.

6. Try to understand that this is like I’m in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language and have no map to tell me what to do. Even if there were a map, I’m not sure right now I could understand what it was saying. I’m lost and in a fog. I’m confused.
7. When you tell me what I should be doing, then I feel even more lost and alone. I feel bad enough that my loved one is dead, so please don’t make it worse by telling me I’m not doing this right.
8. Please don’t call to complain about your husband, your wife, or your children. Right now, I’d be delighted to have my loved one here no matter what they were doing.
9. Please don’t tell me I can have other children or need to start dating again. I’m not ready. And maybe I don’t want to. And besides, what makes you think people are replaceable? They aren’t. Whoever comes after, will always be someone different.
10. I don’t even understand what you mean when you say, “You’ve got to get on with your life.” My life is going on, but it may not look the way you think it should. This will take time and I never will be my old self again. So please, just love me as I am today, and know, that with your love and support, the joy will slowly return to my life. But I will never forget and there will always be times that I cry.

Melinda Ruppert, LCPC - Grief and Loss Counseling


The most important thing is to be present and to listen. If you are unable to see or talk to the person and have to provide support from afar then a comforting note or card is perfect. Be sure not to say “I know just how you feel” or use any platitudes (God doesn’t give you any more than you can handle, for example) that could be perceived as insensitive. It is always best to take your cue from the grieving person and let them guide you in knowing what to say/not say. If you know of something that would be helpful to the grieving person (running errands, dropping off groceries etc) just do it, it can put a lot of pressure on the person if you say “Let me know if you need anything.”

Georgena Eggleston, MA, LSP,CRS
Trauma Specialist/Grief Guide


1. Take 3 minutes to sit in silence and breath filling your heart with love before you knock on the door to visit, send a text, make a phone call, make a meal or write a greeting card.
2. REMEMBER… Grief is NOT a disease to cure or a problem to fix. It is NOT a life sentence.
3. Then ask in person, phone or text, How are you in this moment? Remember this is the ONLY moment we have.
4. Then listen and reflect. For example. They say: “Exhausted.” You reflect” Yes, grief IS exhausting.” They say “Oh this hurts so much.” You acknowledge their pain with ” Yes, this is SO painful.” Simply BE with them. Present to them. This is THIER process and you are there because you love them and you, too will grow from this.

Robbie Kaplan - Condolence Expert & Author


The most helpful way to support friends and loved ones grieving a loss is by being present. Show up for the funeral or memorial service and the luncheon, reception, or Shiva following the service. Maintain a presence in the life of the bereaved through emails, phone calls, visits, and notes. If you can sustain a presence in your friend or loved one’s life, you will not only help them mourn their loss, but provide a continuum so your relationship will survive this life-altering experience.

Teresa Doniger, LPC - Grief and Trauma Psychotherapist


What I often hear clients tell me is that responses such as “I am sorry for your loss” fall flat because the person grieving does not want or need others to be sorry. People who are grieving sometimes simply want and need another person’s presence and company, a non-judgemental ear to listen to them, and the patience and respect of others to allow the grieving person to take as much time as they need before “jumping back into” the normal swing of things.

A statement such as: “I am here for you.” Or, asking “How can I help?” Or, simply showing up with food, flowers or other things that the grieving person enjoys can go much farther than the typical response of, “I am sorry for your loss.”

Tony McLaren - National Coordinator of Breathing Space


Grief is our natural reaction to loss and can include a whole succession of feelings and emotions. Some people may experience feelings such as shock, denial, anxiety or confusion. Other common emotions include anger, blame, guilt and regret. Sadness and depression can leave us feeling isolated and alone. Others may even experience a sense of relief after a death. As part of our grief, we may also experience physical symptoms such as insomnia and muscle pains. For many, coping with losing a loved one is the most distressing experience we will ever face.
Grief is a very personal journey, which cannot be hurried. Being with an individual and offering support to someone whilst they manage their feelings and emotions can be invaluable. Remember that there is no particular ‘time-frame’ that someone should follow to ‘get over’ their grief.

How you can offer support

  • Make yourself available – the feelings above are a normal and unpleasant part of grief. By helping that person accept their thoughts and feelings and confide in you, it can help them to work through their emotions. Be sure though to watch your time boundaries, as you cannot be with someone all of the time.
  • Empathetic listening – if a person has taken the time to share their personal feelings with you, be open to their perspective and attend to the conversation at hand. Make the effort to seek to appreciate how they are feeling and try not pass judgement.
  • Normalise grief – dispel concerns that something is wrong with how that person is grieving. There is no right or wrong way to grieve and everyone deals with death differently. As strange as some emotions may seem, accepting and recognising those feelings can help people learn from them.
  • Signpost to support – there are many organisations which can provide helpful support to anyone experiencing grief or supporting someone through bereavement. Organisations such as Cruse Bereavement Care (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) and Cruse Bereavement Scotland, offer advice and guidance.
  • Self care – remember to make time for yourself. It can be emotionally exhausting to be a close support to someone who is grieving, so it’s important to look after yourself during this difficult time too.

Dr Tina Barrett, EdD, LCPC - Executive Director of Tamarack Grief Resource Center


When someone in your family or friendship circle experiences a death, there are several things you can do to be supportive.

  • Consider your personal grief history and how it influences your perspective on loss.
  • Be careful not to assume that your friend or family will feel exactly as you do now or like you did in a similar situation.
  • Follow the lead of the grieving person.
  • The person experiencing the loss will give vague guidelines about how they want to express themselves.
  • Do not be afraid to ask about their loved one or speak their name.
  • Listen attentively.
  • If the friend is not talking about loss, don’t assume the loss has not affected them.
  • Reach out and show affection.
  • Let them know they are loved and cared for. Offer your presence and support as the person experiences their individual grief response.
  • Encourage your family member or friend to share their memories and feelings.
  • Track and honor significant dates and holidays.
  • Be honest and loving in responding to questions and conversations.
  • Provide opportunities with your family member or friend for silence, talk, creative outlets, and movement.
  • Offer help in a specific way (i.e. “Can I walk the dog or help with shopping?) Allow time to grieve, and then more time.
  • Provide resources for support groups.
  • Allow and encourage questions- it is okay to not have answers.
  • You cannot fix it. Just being there to support them is enough.

Rev Canon Yvonne Richmond Tulloch MA -
Founder & Chair of


My summary of the best way to help a grieving person is ‘show up, shut up and shower’. In other words have the courage to be in touch and visit, listen to what has happened and is going on for them, and shower them with practical help and good things. Asking the person what happened and listening to their story will help them to process their loss, and by being there for them and journeying with them (for as long as it takes) with loving thoughts and care, you will help them to get through the hardest of times and enable them in due course back on their feet. Also, tell them early on about the’s website, which signposts the bereaved to appropriate and local support services ( Grieving people need to understand what they’re going through and find others who have survived their situation if they are to have hope.

Janet Roberts -
Executive Director Centering Corporation and Grief Digest


One of the best ways to support someone who’s grieving is helping them to find resources that can guide them through their loss

Every year, many people say to me, “This book changed my life!”

When it comes to finding the perfect book, journal, DVD, or CD to help you through the grieving process, I believe, knowledge is power. Stories, or facts about grief, can be healing and can give you the supportive information you need to find the light at the end of the tunnel.

If you are not sure where to start, I have compiled a list of questions you can ask yourself while searching for information, support, and hope through resources of all kinds.

  1. How much reading do you want to start off with? (There are four-page pamphlets to books with hundreds of pages.)
  2. Do you want to dive into a good book or start off with a little bit of help at a time?
  3. Do you find comfort in personal stories or just supportive information?
  4. Do you want real information from someone who has been through it? Or do you want to know the facts about grief?

Certainly, you don’t have to limit yourself to just books. Journals are a very healing way to write out your feelings—you can put the memories you don’t want to forget on paper.

Or, maybe you don’t feel like reading at the moment. You might prefer to watch a DVD about a an individual who survived an unthinkable tragedy and has somehow found the strength to carry on. If that is too much to think about, a relaxing CD designed to help those who are grieving, written and composed by someone who understands, might be the right choice for you. The great thing about having some selected grief resources at your fingertips is that they are available to you 24/7. And, if some of the content inspires you, you can go through it as many times as you need to during the day or at 3 am when you can’t sleep.

Does a book sound overwhelming? You don’t have to read the whole book at once. Sometimes a page a day is just the right amount for you. Can’t get enough of books? Check out the selection at your local library . We’ve all heard the phrase, “There’s nothing like a good book.” Well, it’s true. Actually, I think it should say: “There’s nothing like a good grief resource.”


If you’ve got this far then you’ve probably read and digested a whole lot of advice. While everyone had different ideas on how to support someone grieving there were some key takeaways that kept coming up:

Be there – it may seem obvious but just being present and with the person grieving, offering a shoulder to lean or cry on is so important. Throughout all of the professionals advice this came up time and time again. If you take one piece of advice away from this that should be it.

Listen – listening was almost as universally recommended as being present. If it’s sitting in silence or offering an empathetic ear, just let them express themselves and be there to listen, in a completely non judgemental way, to whatever it is they need to say.

Offer Help – being there to help with the day-to-day normality of life that has to carry on whilst they grieve is also so important. Offer to help with things like the cooking, or alternatively bring some food for them. Run some errands that need doing, offer to pick up their kids from school etc.

Supporting anyone who is grieving is complex and there is no one size fits all for doing so. But hopefully you will have learnt and taken some advice from all the amazing contributions and be better prepared for being there to support your friends and family when they lose a loved one.

For further grief advice and help please use these resources:

Sympathy Prayers to Pray for a Loss

When someone loses a loved one we want to find a way to comfort them and pay our respects. A really good way to do this is by praying – specifically in this case with sympathy prayers. Prayer helps us to express our love and understanding for others, to empathise with what they are going through and to wish them the strength during such a difficult time. Prayer is an act of love towards others, as well as being something that can bring together people – which is essential during a time of loss.

Praying can also be beneficial to the person grieving. If they join you or others in prayer it can help bring them peace, relief or hope for the future. Losing a loved one hurts more than almost anything so finding something that can offer respite is a real godsend. And having others pray for you can feel like some of the burden that you’re going through is lifted. Strength is given through prayer, and support is what anyone grieving needs.

So if you need some inspiration or ideas for a condolence prayer then please take a look at the examples below.

Sympathy Prayers

Prayer of Comfort and Strength

For all those who woke this morning
to the loneliness of bereavement –
the empty bed or chair,
an unaccustomed quietness,
a life now incomplete –
may they know your presence
in the stillness of the day,
and through the love of friends
who offer their condolence.
And in the darker moments
may they reach out to hold your hand
and feel the warmth of the One
who has already passed from death to life
to welcome others into God’s Kingdom.

Prayer of Comfort for the Bereaved

God of love and mercy,
embrace all those
whose hearts today
overflow with grief,
unanswered questions
and such a sense of loss.
Grant them space
to express their tears.
Hold them close
through the coming days.

Prayer for Loss

You hold time within your hands, and see it all, from beginning to end. Please keep and carry these precious people in their sadness and loss. Cover them with your great wings of love, give their weary hearts rest and their minds sound sleep. Lord, lift their eyes so that they may catch a glimpse of eternity, and be comforted by the promise of heaven.
We ask all this in the precious name of Jesus.


Prayer of Condolence

We pray for all whose lives
have been touched by tragedy,
whether by accident
or a deliberate act.
For those who mourn,
immerse them in your love
and lead them through this darkness
into your arms, and light.
For those who comfort,
be in both the words they use
and all that’s left unspoken;
fill each heart with love.
We ask this through Jesus Christ,
whose own suffering brought us life,
here and for eternity.


Prayer for those who Mourn

Almighty God,
source of all mercy and giver of comfort;
Deal graciously with those who mourn,
casting all their sorrow on you,
they may know the consolation of your love;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


Prayer of Bereavement

O God, come to my assistance;
O Lord, hurry to help me. Please take the consuming anguish I feel right now;
take it from me and hold me in Your arms.
Heal my broken heart and bind up my wounds (Psalm 147:3)


Prayer of Comfort

Jesus, You said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”
I am mourning; send me Your comfort now.
Wrap around Your arms around me and hold me tight.
Send angels of mercy to me.
Shower Your comfort on me through those around me,
and keep far from me those whose words and actions are no comfort


Prayer of Condolence

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


Prayer of Loss

Thank you for the lives
of all those loved ones
who, whilst no longer
walking beside us
or holding our hand
along life’s journey
as once they did, live on
in the collective memory
of those they have left behind.
Enjoy their company, Loving God
until we shall meet again


Prayer for Comfort in Loss

Dearest Jesus, who wept at the death of your friend
and taught that they who mourn shall be comforted,
grant us the comfort of your presence in our loss.
Send Your Holy Spirit to direct us
lest we make hasty or foolish decisions.
Send Your Spirit to give us courage
lest through fear we recoil from living.
Send Your Spirit to bring us your peace
lest bitterness, false guilt, or regret take root in our hearts.
The Lord has given.
The Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.


Prayer of Loss

Embrace in your loving arms
all who are grieving the loss
of family and loved ones
through tragic circumstance;
where lives are in turmoil,
hope turns to despair
and pain is all that’s felt.
Be with them in their sorrow,
uphold them with your strength,
and through the generosity
of love shown by othersv and your presence within their hearts
may they know they are not alone,
in their struggle through today.

Prayer for the Bereaved

Jesus, please be with my friend reading this prayer. You know every wound, every joy, every fear, every dream. Heal old wounds. Heal new wounds. Rejoice alongside. Alleviate every haunting fear. Fulfill God-sized dreams in Your timing (and help us be patient in the waiting). Help us all to see the power of Your resurrection this month. Give us eyes to see where new life springs in our hearts. Rejuvenate when we’re weak. We need You Jesus.


Prayer for Loss

O sweet mother Mary,
who knew the sadness of mourning those your heart loved most,
Jesus, your Son,
and Joseph, your devoted spouse,

Pray for us in our time of loss.


Prayer of Strength

God of love, may I come quickly to thee, when I am in need of protection and sympathy.
Guard me against sorrow that is drawn from the imagination.
May I not allow grief to drag me into misery, but with strength and courage may I find happiness in thy daily will.


Prayer for the Mourning

Bless those who mourn
the death of relative or friend
and feel that with this loss
their lives are incomplete.
Bless those who mourn,
and fill these empty hearts
with pleasant memories,
the sound of laughter,
sunshine and happier days.
Bless those who mourn,
and heal their brokenness
with the soothing balm
of your gentle touch,
that they might know
shalom, wholeness, peace

Prayer for Strength and Faith

Lord, at the moment nothing seems to be able to help the loss I feel.
My heart is broken and my spirit mourns.
All I know is that Your grace is sufficient.
This day, this hour
Moment by moment
I choose to lean on You,
For when I am at my weakest Your strength is strongest.
I pour out my grief to You
And praise You that on one glorious day
When all suffering is extinguished and love has conquered
We shall walk together again.

Prayer of Comfort for the Bereaved

Bring comfort to those
coming to terms
with the unexpected
loss of a loved one.
Bring healing to those
alive but broken
by serious injuries
and related trauma.
Bring unity to those
working for peace
and understanding
between communities.
Bring your warmth
to those whose hearts
are cold and empty,
and bring your blessing
on all who in such times
are there to share your love.

Prayer for Strength and Wisdom

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life


Prayer for Comfort

Comfort me with Your love O God
Wrap me up in Your strong embrace
Shelter me from the storm O Lord
Envelop me in Your tender care

By day I pour out my heartbreak to You
By night I give you my racing thoughts

In You I take refuge
In You I will not be afraid
For you hold me strong, You hold me safe

Calm my fearful heart O God
Still my anxious mind O Lord

For all my life is found in You
All my being is given to You
All my hope begins in You

Prayer for Comfort in Difficult Times

O merciful Father,
who hast taught us in thy holy Word that thou dost not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men:
Look with pity upon the sorrows of thy servant for whom our prayers are offered.
Remember him, O Lord, in mercy,
nourish his soul with patience,
comfort him with a sense of thy goodness,
lift up thy countenance upon him,
and give him peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Prayer to Comfort Sorrows

“Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief” (Psalm 31:9)
My heart is broken, my mind exhausted. I cry out to you and hardly know what to ask. All I can do is tell you how I feel and ask you to “keep track of all my sorrows… collect all my tears in your bottle… and record each one in your book” as I pour them out to you (Psalm 56:8)


Prayer for Peace and Comfort

Jesus, You told Your followers, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe in Me as well… Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives” (John 14:1, 27).
I need Your peace. I need “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” to guard my heart and mind (Philippians 4:7).
I need peaceful sleep. I ask for peaceful thoughts and emotions to rule my days and nights.


Prayer for Comfort in Loss

I commend you, to almighty God, and entrust you to your Creator.
May you rest in the arms of the Lord who formed you from the dust of the earth.
May holy Mary, the angels and all the saints welcome you now that you have gone forth from this life.
May Christ who was crucified for you, bring you freedom and peace.
May Christ who died for you admit you into his garden of paradise.
May Christ, the true Shepherd, embrace you as one of his flock.
May he forgive all your sins, and set you among those he has chosen.
May you see your Redeemer face to face, and enjoy the vision of God, forever.

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With Sympathy Images

Losing someone is terrible for everyone. One of the things that makes it easier to cope and get through a loss is the support of friends, family and the people around you. If you’re one of those people looking to offer comfort a good way to do so is by expressing your sympathy for their loss. You can do this in person, with a gift and card or even through the internet with something like an email or using social media. And something that can be better than a standard condolence message is a sympathy image.

A sympathy or condolence image is a picture that expresses your empathy and understanding for what the bereaved is going through. They often have fitting sympathy quotes or sayings that either offer your condolences or sums up the situation in a short line or two.

Below you’ll find a huge selection of our very own images of condolence. These pictures are all our own, created ourselves, and free to use on the likes of Facebook or Twitter. If you want to use them on your own website that’s fine, please credit us though.

We hope these sympathy images will help to offer your deepest condolences and bring some comfort to those suffering a horrible loss.

Sympathy Images and Quotes

With Sympathy Images

Thinking of you in this difficult time and sending love – with sympathy

Love Knows no Boundaries Sympathy Images

Love knows no boundaries – even those that divide heaven and earth. So whenever you feel sad just remember, your hearts are connected together

Deepest Condolences Quote

You are in my thoughts and prayers, and have my deepest condolences

Love and Comfort Sympathy Image

Sending you my love and comfort. Deepest sympathies for your loss

Child Loss Sympathy Image

“And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief”

Religious Sympathy Image

God is our refuge and strength. My deepest sympathy

Love is Immortality Sympathy Quote

“Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality”

Graves are the Footprints of Angels Quote

Graves are the Footprints of Angels

Grief is the Price we Pay for Love Quote

Grief is the Price we pay for Love

Condolence Message

There are times when there are too few words left to heal us, when what we wish for is to be carried, when all we have left is the hope that tomorrow will be a more gentle place to land than today

Hold onto Memories Condolence Quote

Words will not wipe away your tears and hugs may not ease the pain, but hold onto your memories because forever they will remain

Heartfelt Condolence Quote

“To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die”

Memories Condolence Quote

May the memories of your loved one give you strength in the days that lie ahead

Sincerest Sympathy Image

Sincerest sympathy to you and your family

Sorry for Your Loss Sympathy Image

We’re so sorry for your loss. We’ll always be here for you

With Sympathy Image

It’s hard to forget someone who gave you so much to remember

Our Thoughts are With You Sympathy Condolence Image

Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. It is the prices of love. Our thoughts and prayers are with you

Sympathy Verse

A million words would not bring you back, I know because I’ve tried
Neither would a million tears, I know because I’ve cried

Grief May Change But it Never Ends

Grief May Change But it Never Ends

Angels Sympathy Quote

“And then I heard the angel say, ‘She’s with you everyday'”

Comfort Condolence Quote

“A wounded heart will heal in time, and when it does, the memory and love of our loved ones are sealed inside to comfort us”

Death Quote

“We understand death only after it has placed it’s hands on someone we love”

Heaven Gained an Angel Sympathy Quote

You may have lost a loved one, but heaven gained another angel

Great Soul Condolence Quote

“A great soul serves everyone all the time. A great soul never dies. It brings us together again and again”

Goodbye Condolence Quote

The goodbyes and tears will morph into memories that you’ll hold close to your heart, now and forever

Love and Sympathy Image

Our love and thoughts are with you – Deepest sympathy

When You Lose Someone You Love You Gain an Angel Quote

“When you lose someone you love you gain an angel”

Sympathy Message Image

Wishing you peace to bring you comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your heart

Angel Sympathy Quote

May you take comfort in the knowledge that there is one more angel in heaven

Deepest Sympathy Image

May your memories bring you peace and comfort – deepest sympathy

Love Sympathy Image

When you love someone enough, there is no such thing as goodbye

Memories Sympathy Quote

“May your heart heal over time with the help of the memories of your loved one”

Memory Becomes a Treasure Sympathy Quote

When someone that you love becomes a memory, that memory will then become a treasure

Religious Condolence Quote

When we grieve, angels are always near us to whisper that our loved ones are safely in the hands of God

Sympathy for Your Loss Image

You have my sincerest sympathy
for your loss

Sympathy Quote Image

Wishing you strength for today and hope for tomorrow

There are No Words Grief Quote

There are no words

With Love and Sympathy

Our trials, our sorrows, and our losses are what shape us. With love and sympathy

Peaceful Sympathy Image

May beauty live on in your memories and bring you peace

Share your Moment Sympathy Quote

“Our joys will be greater, our love will be deeper, our life will be fuller because we shared your moment”

Sympathy Loss Image

“We never truly lose the people that we love, even to death”

Live in Hearts Condolence Quote

To live in the hearts that are left behind is not to die

In my Heart Sympathy Image

“There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart”

My Deepest Sympathies are With You

My Deepest Sympathies are With You

Sorrow and Sadness Sympathy Image

May the love of friends and family soften your sorrow and sadness

In Our Thoughts and Prayers Sympathy Image

You are in my thoughts and prayers

Flowers Sympathy Quote

Flowers can grow out of the darkest moments

God Rest Your Soul Sympathy Image

You went to heaven too soon, leaving behind you only tears and pain. May God rest your soul

Do Not Lose Hope Condolence Image

Do not lose hope. When the sun goes down the stars come out

Prayer Sympathy Image

Praying that the love of God enfolds you during this time of loss

My Deepest Sympathy

My deepest sympathy for your loss

Death Sympathy Image

Death leaves a heartache that nobody can heal and love leaves a memory that no one can steal

Courage Condolence Image

Wishing you strength, courage and much love

Unique Sympathy Gifts

If you’re writing a sympathy card message to send or give to someone then you may be thinking of including a gift to go with it. Offering a touching and thoughtful gift to the bereaved is a generous gesture that can really brighten their day. During a time where they probably feel most alone this can be a real comfort, especially if the gift is one that comes from the heart and reaches out to them.

But you may be struggling with what gift to get. The usual sympathy gifts can be cliche and seem like no thought was required before giving them. Sometimes it can be nice to give something a little different and unique. There’s nothing wrong with flowers, plants or a memorial plaque. Often these will be the most appropriate. But there are many options out there that can offer something more personal, have a deeper meaning and connection, and really make a difference.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of what we believe to be the most different and unique sympathy gifts out there. So if you want an alternative to flowers then look no further. We’re sure you’ll find something that really stands out and hopefully provides real warmth in such a trying period.

Unique Sympathy Gifts

Whilst we haven’t ranked these gifts in any sort of an order, we do feel this is probably the best of them all. Or at the least what we believe will be the most beneficial to anyone coping with a loss. The gift of a professional service like a housekeeper or organiser to remove the strain of day to day tasks whilst grieving can be invaluable.
A housekeeper or cleaning service can provide the time needed to heal without having to deal with everyday chores. Or it can allow for a family to begin sorting their loved ones possessions. Alternatively there are professionals who can be hired specifically to help with the sorting of a loved ones things. They can assist and make the process much easier.

A good place to start with a grief organiser is searching for anyone local in your area. For a cleaning service there is Handy, who offer top-rated home cleaning services professionals in both the US and UK.

A charitable donation in the name of the deceased is a great gift. Often people feel awkward about giving to charity as a gift because they worry it will make them look cheap. Or they believe a gift should be given to the person themselves. But when it comes to sympathy gifts the bereaved aren’t expecting, nor will they want, some sort of item to make up for their loss.

So donating to a charity the deceased was known to be involved with or supported is perfect. Or even one that reflects the interests and hobbies they had would work, e.g. if they were passionate about the environment then maybe give to Greenpeace. Alternatively if they were religious you can always give to their church or place of worship. And if they suffered from a known illness then a charity that researches or raises awareness for it will enable the family to feel like a very small positive has come from their passing.

A memorial tree (a tree that is planted in honor of the deceased) is a fantastic sympathy gift. A tree or shrub can memorialise a loved one and work as a reminder of them to the family. They grow and bloom as do the memories of the recipients loved one and act as a tranquil place to cherish those special memories. You can even place a remembrance stone, plaque or bench with the tree so their legacy can live on for generations.

When choosing a tree you may want to pick one that the deceased had a connection to. Perhaps it shares their name, or reflects their personality. You can also donate the tree to an organisation or specific place the deceased loved, perhaps a park. It’s also very popular to scatter the ashes around the planted tree so keep that in mind when choosing one.

Even if the bereaved isn’t much of a reader a book that can help with the grieving process or offer support can be an extremely useful gift. There are countless books out there that relate to grief and loss. You could look at poetry and quotes, religious themed texts, memoirs of those who have suffered from serious illnesses, or ones that are uplifting and positive.

A popular choice is A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis. It was written after his wife’s death and reflects on life and death amidst his bereavement and loss. Whilst it had some religious tones that hasn’t kept it from being appreciated by many non-believers.

You could also ignore books focusing on grief and death and pick something that has no relation to it whatsoever. An novel that helps the bereaved escape into another world for a short time and help them to forget their pain.

Losing a loved one causes an understandably high amount of stress. Not only through the pain of that loss, which can take its toll physically as well as mentally, but having to deal with everything surrounding a death. Funeral preparations, sorting and organising possessions, will arrangements etc. So an excellent gift you can give is one that helps the bereaved to take care of themselves. A spa gift card or massage is ideal for this.

Spafinder gift cards are perfect as you can easily purchase the gift card and either send or give it to the person. They are then redeemable in many locations across the country (both US and UK). You can get massages, manicures, pedicures, the full spa experience and more. Give the bereaved have a break from the hard times they are going through and the opportunity to relax for a short period.

Jewellery, unlike flowers or a plant, is something that can last a lifetime. Giving a piece of jewellery that the bereaved can wear to remember their lost loved one is the perfect way to keep those memories alive and close to them. A beautiful and touching item can become a treasured gift that they will cherish as part of the grieving process and for years to come.

The Comfort Company’s Teardrop Pendant is a sterling silver pendant that features a forget-me-not flower as decoration, custom gift box, and a hot foil stamped enclosure card with sympathy verse.

Much like jewellery, a wind chime is a long lasting and special way to remember a loved one. Wind chimes can be hung in a variety of places (the garden, porch, or spots that are reminders of the lost friend or family member) and as the breeze blows you are reminded of the deceased through the gentle music they play. Personalised messages or memorials can also be engraved on the chimes to make them even more special.

A very popular memorial chime is Woodstock’s ‘Amazing Grace’ Chime that is tuned to the inspiring tones heard in the opening measures of Amazing Grace, one of America’s best loved and most widely known hymns. Amazing Grace has played an important role in drug and alcohol recovery, the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement and 9/11. It’s message of hope and redemption from over 200 years ago resonates with the same power today, and makes for a touching remembrance gift.

When there’s a bereavement the children often get overlooked. This could be because the parents feel awkward discussing it, think children aren’t affected as much by a death, or just amongst the grief they’re somewhat forgotten. So a gift that is specifically for the children of a family that’s going through a loss, and can help to keep the children distracted and their mind on something else, will be warmly received.

A book that either the child can read themselves or be read to them is a good choice. Alternatively a creative game or art project that allows the child to express any feelings they currently have but may be struggling to put into words is also a good option. None of these have to be grief related, just something that can help the child grieve there own way and feel included.

A memory chest or memento box is a somewhere that keepsakes and memories of a loved lost one can be stored. They can also act as a place to keep ashes in a temporary urn. Many who have lost someone want something to help remember them and keep those memories alive. A memory box is the perfect choice in this case.

The Cottage Garden Bereavement Remembrance Keepsake Box holds those special memories in a beautiful lined box with a heartfelt poem. The artwork can be replaced with a treasured photo of a loved one. Included with the box is a package of 20 decorative Comfort Cards that are titled ‘Remember When’ for you and your loved ones to write precious memories and keep.

A great way to give a selection of smaller gifts for an entire family, rather than one person, is with a sympathy gift basket. These are either baskets filled with a range of items/food to be sent as a condolence gift or you can choose the products to go in the basket yourself. Flowers are sometimes included, as well as a card or note. You can then have the basket sent directly to the bereaved or delivered to yourself and then give it to them in person.

Fanciful Gift Baskets have a great selection of different condolence baskets, as well as having the option to create your own custom one and include all the items you want.

A good choice for a food basket is the Oh! Nuts Nut and Dried Fruit Gift Basket. Filled with very healthy dried fruit and nuts, it’s a perfect choice for a vegan or vegetarian and is gluten free. Alternatively for something a bit more decadent try Nikki’s Sincere Sympathy Condolence Gift Basket that’s filled with treats such as sugar cookies, Camembert cheese, butter toffee peanuts, caramel corn and more.

A memory quilt is created with old clothing or pieces of material that have a link to the deceased and hold significant value for the family. They are sewn together to create a quilt that tell a story of their loved one; a constant reminder if their life. Memory quilts are lovely to both make and give, and seeing as there will be nothing else out there the same they are a totally unique sympathy gift.

You can find so many books with different ideas and tutorials for creating beautiful memory quilts. If you’re not a sewer, and many of you won’t be, don’t fear! There are companies who will make a memory quilt to order and even have the option to having your choice of special photos put on individual fabric squares. QuiltKeepsake do some lovely bereavement quilts and are very easy to order from.

A memory or keepsake jar is a really touching little gift. It can be used in two different ways: to be filled with mementos and memories of the deceased like photos, drawings, notes, letters etc. and stand as a memorial to them that family members and friends can quickly take a look at and be reminded if them. This type of memory jar can be handmade from simple items such as a regular jam jar. Perfect for kids to create themselves as a memorial for a family member. The other jar is one you buy and comes with a selection of uplifting and positive sympathy messages that can be opened each day to help bring comfort to the grieving.

One of the most popular keepsake jars is the KindNotes Glass Sympathy Keepsake Gift Jar of Messages. It comes with 31 thoughtful messages enclosed in mini decorative envelopes to be opened each day or anytime they need a lift. It’s a thoughtful gift that keeps on giving, one that can be enjoyed day after day.

A care or gift package is a lovely gesture showing you care and are thinking of the grieving. With sympathy care packages you get items that help to show support, bring comfort, inspire and even motivate your family it friends who have suffering a loss.

Uplift Gift design sympathy gift packages for friends and family in pain, especially when they are grieving after losing a loved one. These are care packages that help comfort the living, gifts to recognize a death in the family, and a support for those left to carry on. Individually-wrapped, hand-selected, curated items in beautifully-designed packages show you care.

Food may seem an odd choice but actually bringing or cooking food for a bereaved family is a really useful and practical gift. When going through a painful loss one of the last things anyone will be thinking about is cooking. So having ready to eat food provided or some that is simple to reheat can be extremely helpful. If the bereaved family is having people over to wish them condolences then having food they can serve with it having to think about it is another really positive aspect to it as a gift.

If you’re not much of a cook yourself then buying food from a restaurant or store is perfectly acceptable. But if you like to cook then homemade is always well appreciated. Even more so if you know the families favourite foods. Pies, casseroles, deli platters and similar are great savoury options. As with the gift baskets above fruit and nuts are great healthier options. If they like tea and coffee then they’re always good choices for drinks.

Be wary of any allergies or specific dietary requirements though. And giving the good in easily disposable containers makes it simpler for the family to avoid any cleaning and returning of tupperware, for example.

Throughout time people have painted portraits and pictures of loved ones who have passed away as a way to remember them. A beautiful memorial portrait serves as a reminder of the dead and helps to keep them alive and in our thoughts.

Having a memorial portrait commissioned is definitely a tricky gift to arrange and certainly won’t be a common idea. But if you have a good photo of the deceased, or can ask the family for one, then you can take that to a professional artist who will recreate it as a portrait. Searching your local area for talented artists is a good way to find someone who can create a striking and beautiful portrait. Alternatively you can use Paint Your Life’s memorial portraits service to find an artist you like.

Handmade gifts are always well received because they show a degree of effort, time and thought dedicated to them. They can be personalised and designed specifically for the recipient.

Even if you’re not the crafty type or aren’t good with your hands then you can still make something basic. A handmade card instead of a store bought one is fairly simple to do. There are many tutorials and guides online to help you, with videos websites like YouTube. You could also buy a handmade item from somewhere like Etsy that allows for it to be personalised.

This may seem like a strange ‘gift’ but in actual fact you could argue it’s the most important. During the aftermath of a loss there are so many emotions and feelings the bereaved will go through. Throw into the mix all the admin and organisational side of dealing with a death you have and it becomes a hectic, incredibly difficult time for all involved to deal with. So if a friend or family member can step in and help out with parts of it that can be a real benefit to the family and help to relieve some of the pressure.

It doesn’t have to be anything particularly involved or difficult. If it’s a family who have suffered a loss then perhaps you could offer to pick up or take the kids to school. Or look after them whilst the rest of the family deals with some of the admin aspects of the deceased. Doing some of the mundane chores and jobs around the house is always useful, or maybe even helping with the funeral arrangements. Whatever they need just offer your time and help and you can be very confident it will be hugely appreciated.

words of sympathy for loss of child

Losing a child is one of the most tragic things that could happen to anyone. A parent having their son or daughter taken from them will likely be the most painful experience that could possibly be imagined. The grief will be long lasting and change the lives of the family involved forever.

If you are unlucky enough to know a parent, or parents, going through the loss of a child you may want to reach out and show you are there for them if they need you. But trying to find the right words during such a traumatic time is incredibly tricky. A condolence or sympathy card is always a touching gesture but needs to have considered and thoughtful wording. You don’t want to cause offence by saying the wrong thing.

But at the same time you shouldn’t be put off offering sympathy. A message of love that speaks of how sorry you are and the support you can give will always be appreciated. For the parents, just knowing that friends and family are thinking of them whilst they go through such an awful time can alone be comforting. So if you are considering not sending a card or reaching out please don’t be afraid to.

However, there are a few things to be wary of. In your message you should avoid phrases or topics such as:

  • It was there time to go
  • You must be relieved their suffering is over
  • You can still have more children
  • It happened for a reason
  • God always has a plan

If you are still struggling and aren’t sure what to say or write then try one of the messages below. They should either provide inspiration to write your own or can be copied directly as they are. Just remember to speak from the heart and your card and message will be warmly received.

Words of Sympathy for Loss of Child

I know that there isn’t anything I could say to take away the pain. But please know I’m here for you, whatever you need

You are in our thoughts and prayers during this awful time. We’re here if you need us

There are no words that can explain the sorrow and pain we feel for the loss of your [son/daughter]. They will be greatly missed

Words will seem meaningless so please know that I’m thinking of you constantly. You have my deepest sympathies

There are no right words at this time. We just wanted you to know that you have our full support in whatever you need

We are so deeply sorry for your loss. Remember we’re only a phone call away

A child is always with us. First in their lifetime, then forever in our memory

We send you our love and heartfelt prayers that you may find the strength you need to get through each day

I hope you find strength in loved ones and family to help you get through this awful tragedy

Please accept our deepest sympathy for your loss. We hope you find some form of peace and comfort in time

I imagine there is no pain deeper than losing a child. My heart and prayers go out to you at this most difficult time

We are truly sorry for your terrible loss. Losing a child is heartbreaking. Our heart aches for you and your family

Those we love don’t go away. They walk beside us everyday. Unseen, unheard, but always near. Still loved, still missed and very dear

My words will never be enough to express the sorrow I feel for your loss. But I hope you can take some comfort from knowing I’m thinking of and there for you

No words can express the pain that you are going through. My prayer is that God will give you strength to face the coming days ahead

I’m so sorry for your loss. I can only offer to be with you during this awful time and hopefully provide a shoulder to cry on a source to take strength from

I only wish there was something I could say or do to lessen the pain. You will be in my thoughts and prayers

Whenever you feel ready to talk or want some company then I’ll be there. I’m so deeply sorry you’re having to go through this

May you find comfort in God and the strength he brings as you mourn the loss of your child. My prayers will be for you alone

words of sympathy for loss of child

Words of Sympathy for Loss of Daughter

We know that over time the pain may look likes it’s faded and life has returned to normal. But behind that the memories and grief will last a lifetime. We’re so sorry for your loss

I’m so sorry for the loss of your beautiful baby girl. I know nothing I say can make it better, and I can’t even begin to imagine what your going through, but please know, even before she was born, she was loved by everyone. She is a beautiful star, a star that will always be in our hearts and our memories

We are deeply saddened by your loss. We will cherish the memories of the times we spent together. We are with you during this time of grief

Words cannot express how sorry we are for your loss. Please know you and your entire family are in our constant thoughts

Your little girl will forever be in our hearts, her memory everlasting in those who knew her. Stay strong and know we’re here for you

words of sympathy for loss of daughter

Words of Sympathy for Loss of a Grown Daughter

I am still in shock about the loss. She was so special to our family, we will miss her dearly. Our heart goes out to you and your family during this tragic time

My condolences to you and your family. Life does not make sense and losing someone as young and loving as [name] is tragic. We will miss her immensely

We are truly sorry for your loss. Our heart aches for you and your family. She was a wonderful person and we will miss her terribly

Nothing I can say will help to ease the pain, but your daughter was an amazing woman who’s warmth and good nature touched all her knew her. I can’t imagine a world without her in it. I’m so sorry for your loss

Words mean little but your daughters generous soul will have created memories for us all to cherish. Her loss is devastating and we’re sorry deeply sorry

Words of Sympathy for Loss of Son

I can’t imagine the heartbreak you are going through. I am so sorry for the loss of your son

I cannot imagine there is a pain more deep and terrible than losing a son. My heart, soul and prayers go out to you at this most harrowing time

I feel lucky to have just known your son. His loss will be felt by everyone and leave a gaping hole in so many lives. Please accept my sincerest condolences

The love and joy that your baby boy brought to us all is something I will forever miss and treasure. I am very sorry for your loss

Your little man was beyond special. His beaming smile and the joy he spread will never be forgotten. We’re so deeply sorry for your loss

words of sympathy for loss of son

Words of Sympathy for the Loss of a Grown Son

Your son was an inspiration to everyone around him. I am so blessed and lucky to have known and called him a friend, and I will keep his spirit alive with the many memories I hold close to my heart

Like everyone who knew your son we will feel his loss so deeply. I hope you can take comfort from knowing how special he was and the amount of people he touched

Love and hugs to you and your family at this deeply sad time. Your son will never be forgotten

Please accept my sympathy for the terrible loss of your son. He will be remembered as the incredible person he was

Your son was loved by all and brought joy to everyone who knew him. Every bit of my heart goes out to you during this most difficult time

I feel so lucky to have been graced by your son’s warm spirit and cheeky smile. He was one of a kind and can never be replaced. I will miss him dearly and send me sincerest condolences

Condolences for Loss of Baby at Birth

I don’t know what to say, I know how awful this must be for you. I’m so sorry and am there for you whatever you need

If you need a shoulder to cry on or someone to listen then please don’t hesitate. I’m always here for you

You are in my prayers, constantly. I pray you find the strength needed to get through this

Take time to rest and process what has happened. We can be there for anything you need doing. We’re so sorry

The right words are so hard to find. Please know that I’m thinking of you every moment

You have our deepest sympathies. [Child’s name] will never be forgotten

Brief as your child’s life was may we ever remember the joy they brought. Please accept my deepest condolences

Condolences for Loss of Unborn Baby

Having heard the sad news we are sending so much love and prayers to you both. Goodnight, God bless precious baby.

We have just heard the terrible news. Just to let you know we are here for you if you need a comforting shoulder to lean on

If you need a friend to talk to or just someone to sit with in silence, I am here for you

Please be patient with yourself and take all the time you need. Sending you our love and deepest sympathy

We send you our love and heartfelt prayers that you may find the strength you need to get through each day

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Famous last words quotes

The final words said by someone can leave quite an impression. Not just because of their significance to someone’s life, being the last recorded thoughts they have, but they often take on a greater meaning. Especially when they are poignant or funny. And many famous people have spoken extremely memorable words in their final moments.

When writing a sympathy card message it’s often useful to include profound or touching quotes. The last words of famous people can be helpful in this regard as some have said very fitting things for a card. They might help to provide comfort or understanding to the bereaved.

So take a look at some of the last words of a variety of famous people below.

“I’m bored with it all” – Winston Churchill
Spoken just before he slipped into a coma.

“I’m losing it” – Frank Sinatra
Spoken to his wife who was at his bedside when he died.

“Happy” – Raphael
His reported last word

“I should never have switched from scotch to martinis.” – Humphrey Bogart

“Money can’t buy life” – Bob Marley

“Oh wow.” – Steve Jobs
Repeated three times after a long last look at his family.

“It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” – Kurt Cobain
Written in his suicide note.

“I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.” – Richard Feynman

“Goodbye Kid. Hurry back.” – Humphrey Bogart
Said to Lauren Bacall as she briefly left his bedside.

“I’m going away tonight.” – James Brown

“I finally get to see Marilyn.” – Joe DiMaggio

“I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.” – Leonardo da Vinci

“This is the last of earth. I am content.
” – John Quincy Adams
Said when he collapsed after a stroke in the US Senate.

“I’m shot.” – John Lennon
Repeated twice as he was shot outside his apartment building in New York.

“Don’t die like I did.” – George Best
Handwritten on a card by his hospital deathbed.

“You will not find me alive at sunrise.” – Michel de Nostradamus

“I am not the least afraid to die.” – Charles Darwin

“You are wonderful.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Said to his wife

“I want nothing but death.” – Jane Austen
Said to her sister Cassandra on her deathbed.

“I told you I was ill.” – Spike Milligan
The epitaph (translated form the Gaelic) that he requested for his gravestone.

“France, the army, the head of the army, Joséphine.” – Napoléon Bonaparte

“Nancy, I want you to know my last thoughts are of you.” – P. T. Barnum
Said to his wife a few hours before he died.

“Take a step forward, lads. It will be easier that way.” – Erskine Childers
An encouragement to his firing squad.

“Music has been my doorway of perception and the house that I live in.” – David Bowie
Said to his friend Gary Oldman towards the end of his life.

“Pardon me. I didn’t do it on purpose.” – Marie Antoinette
After accidentally stepping on her executioner’s foot as she climbed the scaffold to the guillotine.

“I’d rather be skiing.” – Stan Laurel
His response when having his last injection.

“Let not poor Nelly starve.” – King Charles II
Said in reference to Nell Gwynne, after the stroke from which he died.

“My Florida water.” – Lucille Ball
Said when asked if there was anything she wanted.

“It is not my design to drink or sleep. My design is to make what haste I can to be gone.” – Oliver Cromwell
His response when offered a drink by a servant.

Augustus Caesar –
To his subjects he reportedly said:
“I found Rome of clay; I leave it to you of marble.”
And to his friends who were with him throughout his reign he said:
“Have I played the part well? Then applaud me as I exit.”

“Thomas Jefferson survives.” – John Adams
Jefferson had actually died some hours earlier, also on July 4, the day he died

“It is very beautiful out there.” – Thomas Edison
Said right before his death, Edison came out of a coma and opened his eyes. He was probably referring to the view outside his window.

“Why do you weep. Did you think I was immortal?” – Louis XIV, King of France

“It is well, I die hard, but I am not afraid to go.” – George Washington

“Go on, get out – last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.” – Karl Marx

Sympathy letter samples and examples

Whilst in most cases sending a short note or message will suffice there will be times where it will be more appropriate to send a letter. If you are looking to send someone a sympathy letter or note then finding the perfect message or writing your own is a good way to go. However you might prefer a whole condolence letter, rather than just a short one or two lines. This way you can really convey exactly how you’re feeling and make it a little more personal and special.

But writing an entire condolence letter is tough. Just finding the right words for a short sympathy message is tricky enough! So knowing what to say and how to say it in a full letter is a daunting prospect. What’s the correct format, how long should it be, how much detail etc.

You can follow our guide below to writing your own sympathy letter. Alternatively you skip down to the letter samples and use or copy them.

Table of Contents
Guidelines for Writing a Sympathy Letter
How to Write a Sympathy Letter or Note
Sample Sympathy Letters
Sympathy Letter Example For Mother
Sympathy Letter Example For Father

Guidelines for Writing a Sympathy Letter

Before writing your sympathy letter there are a few considerations to take into account. Send your letter within a prompt time. Ideally in the first few weeks and before the funeral. Doing so any later could be considered rude and disrespectful.

If you can then try to hand write your letter or note. It shows you’ve taken more time and effort as well as being more personal. It makes it more special than anything typed. A sympathy card is acceptable but try to include your letter in some way – either slipping the handwritten note inside or writing it into the card itself.

If you’re attending the funeral or service then there’s a good chance a box will be there to place sympathy cards in.

Remember that a sympathy letter should come from the heart. Don’t attempt to make it too fancy or special, just speak from the heart. Consider what it is that you’d like to say that sums up precisely how you feel; be that about the loss they’ve suffered or how much they mean to you. If this still seems daunting then read some of the steps below to writing your own or see the examples further down for inspiration.

How to Write a Sympathy Letter or Note

Follow these steps to write your own sympathy letter. Not all of them are necessary but it should give you an idea of the way to construct your letter.

  • Begin by acknowledging the loss and be direct. Whilst you don’t want to be crass or harsh you shouldn’t shy away from the fact someone has died. Remember to refer to the deceased by their name as well.
  • Express your sympathy in whatever way you choose. You can use a sympathy message here for some inspiration
  • You could talk about the deceased and a favourite memory you had of them. Maybe a funny anecdote or warm memory.
  • Following on from that you could mention some of the deceased’s best qualities or personality traits.
  • If you can then offer some form of support. Be that help with the funeral, doing some shopping or cooking for them, looking after their kids etc. Only offer if you mean to help though. Don’t make it any empty gesture.
  • Finish the letter with a statement of support or thoughtful sentiment.

What to Avoid

  • Unless you are absolutely certain the recipient or bereaved had a strong faith or religious side then avoid using any religious wording or overtones in your letter.
  • There are some phrase that should always be avoided. The likes of: “it was there time”, “these things happen for a reason”, “it’s for the best” etc. These could all be deeply offensive and strike the wrong tone.
  • Let them mourn at their own pace and deal with in the way they feel most comfortable. Try not to push them into moving forward with their grief faster than the are ready for.
  • Do not go into detail regarding the cause of death. This could be an unwelcome reminder for the bereaved when they are trying to avoid dwelling on the circumstances.

Whilst there isn’t a set way to write a sympathy letter this should give you an idea of how to format it. A sympathy or condolence note is very similar but usually shorter. Perhaps pick out what you consider the most important parts from above and include those for a note.

Sample Sympathy Letters

If you’d rather some more practical help then use one of the sympathy letter examples below. Either as a guide to writing your own or, if it fits, you can just use one exactly as it is. Hopefully they’ll help you to offer the comfort and support the bereaved needs at this very difficult time.

Dear ______,
I am sorry about the loss of your beloved ____________. We send our deepest condolences to you and to your family. Please let us know if there’s something we can do to somehow lessen the pain you feel in your hearts. We will always be there for you.
My love and sympathy to you and to your kids,

Our love thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family. As always, we are blown away by your amazing spirit and strength. It was a pleasure meeting your __________ last month and look forward to seeing you all soon and creating new memories. My condolences.

Dear ______,
I’m sorry to hear about your loss. _____ was a very thoughtful and wonderful person. We will never forget those trips we had with _____, and we will always miss _____. We love you. Our deepest sympathies are with you. Please call us if you want someone to talk to during this tough moment and we will be there for you.
May ____ rest in peace,

Dear_______________, My heart is breaking for you. Please know that we are here for you. Whatever you need it will be done. I am bringing dinner over tomorrow night.
I love you

Dear_______________, Please know how sorry I am for your_________. It brings back difficult memories for me and my _________. I experienced a very similar situation. All I can say, Is enjoy the time you have and make sure you live without regrets.
All my love

Sympathy Letter Examples For Mother

Sympathy Letters About Mom Example 1

Dear Edna,

I can’t tell you how sorry I was to hear of your mother’s passing. She was such a sweet and kind lady and I will always remember her for that beautiful smile that she always displayed. I always admired her tireless energy- nothing ever seemed to slow her down.

I think your mother’s greatest legacy will be in the wonderful children she raised. She was so very proud of all of you.

The one thing I will probably miss the most is those Sunday chats your mom and I had. She was always quick to start a conversation and I will miss her wisdom and great stories of times gone by.

I hope that you will find the inner strength to get you through this sad and difficult time. You have my very deepest and sincere sympathy.

Yours In Sympathy,

Mary Lyons Brady

Sympathy Letter for Mom Example 2

Dear Members of the Reynolds’ Family,

We were deeply saddened to hear of your mother’s death. It was a shock to all of us.

I think that the loss of one’s mother is by far the saddest event of anyone’s lifetime. There is just no other loss that measures up to this one. But knowing your mom as we did, we know that she wouldn’t want us sitting around grieving but rather celebrating the wonderful life she led. I’m sure she had few regrets in living the full and successful life that she did.

We join in with everyone who knew your mom in wishing you peace and comfort as you face this very sad time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your wonderful family.

In Sympathy,

The Nelson’s

Bill, Ginger, Diane, Mark and Nick

Sympathy Letter for Mom Example 3

Dear Bob,

I was very sorry to hear of your mother’s death. Having lost my mom less than a year ago, I know full well the grief and sadness you are feeling right now.

I know that the thoughts are no doubt overwhelming that nothing ever will quite be the same. That certainly is true, however, soon you will have the memory of your mom that will live on in your heart and mind as well as in the hearts and minds of all of us who knew and loved her.

I will pray for God’s choicest blessings on you and your family at this difficult time.

In Love and Sympathy,


Sympathy Words of Faith About Mom

Using a source of faith can be of great comfort to someone suffering the loss of a loved one. These are some examples of how to use words of faith and religion to console and offer hope to someone who had lost their mother.

Sympathy Words of Faith About Mom Sample 1


How very sorry we were to hear of your mother’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers, and those of so many others who knew her, are with you at this sad and difficult time.

Your mother was blessed with so many wonderful experiences and a long and productive life. You must feel blessed as well to have had her a part of your life for so long.

Our faith tells us that God is showering his blessings on you at this very moment as well. The Bible says “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.” I pray that you will find peace and comfort in these words and that God will give you the strength and courage to go on.

God Bless You and your wonderful family.

Yours In Faith.


Sympathy Words of Faith About Mom Sample 2


I want to let you know how sorry I was to hear of your mother’s death. She was a radiant and wonderful lady who enjoyed life to the fullest.

I know that it seems like a sad ending of a life, but I have faith that your mom is on a wondrous journey to reap her just rewards. Hers was a good and blessed life and the happiness and joy that she brought to all of us will live on in her memory.

I think that mothers are one of God’s greatest blessings, and your mom was no exception. Her angelic smile and sweet voice made her a joy to be around. I will miss her dearly.

I ask for God’s choicest blessings on you and your family. May your faith guide you and comfort you in your sadness.

In love and faith,

Margaret Peterson

Sympathy Words of Faith About Mom Sample 3


I hope this finds you doing well and holding up over your mother’s death. I know what a difficult time it is for you.

I think that when God created mothers as the very special people that they are, that He had your mom in mind already. She was truly one of those blessed and good people who are full of so much grace and dignity.

I know your faith will comfort you. My prayers will be for you and your family to find the peace and strength that comes in knowing that a loved one has gone to their eternal rest.

God Bless You.

With love and affection,

Janice Reilly

Sympathy Letter Examples For Father

Dear Jenny

I am so sorry to read your devastating news. I never met your Dad, but know how wonderful and supportive he was to you over the years and can only start to imagine what you are feeling now.

You will gradually find comfort in all the happy memories. Your parents found their new life in Australia and lived the last years of his life in contentment there, surrounded by family.

Your dad lived to see you find happiness and security and love. He will have died content for knowing that. AND best of all he did not suffer a long illness.

Make sure you find time to grieve and allow yourself to do so – and don’t expect it to pass quickly. Losing a parent takes time to process for us mortals. Do you remember I was in the aftermath of losing my dad when we first became close? I didn’t fully recover from that for at least two years – and made some very strange decisions and acted out of character for much of that time.

I wish I could be with you to try to help somehow. I’m giving you a big hug now from halfway across the globe.

Sending love to you and all your family.

Take care and hang on in there.

Harry Patterson,
3241, Spring Lane,
Tampa, Florida, 70896

Dear Eugene,
It really saddened me when I heard about the ill-timed death of your father. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Robert was a great human being, and he will be sorely be missed. I was very shocked when I heard of his demise owing to illness. Throughout the night, I kept reminiscing all the wonderful times I had with him. He was like a father to me. I especially remember the time he took us fishing to the lake, we caught the most amazing fish I had ever seen, and the barbecue we did afterwards was unforgettable.

I cannot even imagine the sorrow your mother must be feeling, but please give her my condolences, and also tell her I will come to visit her soon.

In this tough time, Eugene, you have to be equally tough, and take your family through this period of sorrow. I can understand how hard it must be for you, as you too were very close to him. But being the elder son the family, you must bring yourself together, and take care of everyone else, especially your mother. She too will be in a fragile mental state. So keep her happy at all times and remember, great human beings do not die, but live forever through the lives they have touched, and the good principles they have instilled in their children.

My prayers are with you and your family, Robert was a great person who touched many lives, including mine.

Sincerest Condolences,

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Ways to Support Someone Who's grieving

When someone you know experiences a loss it can be hard to know what to say and do. You may have already sent a sympathy card with message or bouquet of flowers but want to help and offer your support further, but aren’t sure how, and definitely don’t want to end up offending them. This is understandable but shouldn’t stop you from trying to be there for a friend or family member when they need it most.

Whilst it’s a minor problem compared to what they’re going through it’s not a bad thing to consider the best way you can be there for them. If you get it right then they will appreciate greatly from the comfort feeling like they’re not alone.

So to avoid any awkwardness or worsening of their grief follow the steps and recommendations below. Your support can be a huge benefit to helping someone through one of the hardest periods they will experience. Get it right and you will be an invaluable source of strength and comfort to them. But mainly, more than anything else, just remember to be there for them.

Table of Contents
1. Listen
2. Embrace Silence
3. Be Patient
4. Don't Judge
5. Be Direct
6. Offer Help
7. Do an Activity
8. Share an Experience
9. What Not to Say
10. Avoid Religion
11. No Comparisons
12. Think Long-Term
Further Tips
Ways to Support a Grieving Child
Depression and Suicide


You are probably more concerned with what you should and shouldn’t be saying but knowing when to just sit and listen to them is important. Let them express their grief. Don’t attempt to change the subject and avoid talking about what you think they will find uncomfortable. Allow them to make that decision. If they want to talk about their loved one then they should. They may feel the need to keep them from being forgotten. So whilst you shouldn’t pressure them to talk freely about their loss if they don’t want to you should let them know you are their to listen if they wish to.

  • Just listen and let them talk. Don’t be afraid of silence either.
  • Don’t try to change or avoid the subject of their loss. If they are want to and are comfortable with talking about it then let them.
  • Ask appropriate questions. Be gentle and supportive, not pushy or intrusive. Let them open up in their own time – “Do you feel like talking?”, “I’m here for you if you want to talk”
  • Do not force them to open up. Like the questions above let them know your there for them but it should all be at their own pace.

Embrace Silence

Following on from listening you should accept that silence will be a big part of comforting someone who’s grieving. They will often not want to talk, but just having someone their with them will be of comfort. You don’t have to say anything but offer some nonverbal gestures that show your support – holding or squeezing their hand, hugging them etc.

Be Patient

Don’t expect them to follow a pattern or timeframe for grieving. There is no correct or normal way to grieve. It will differ from person to person in the way they experience it. Whilst the more common timeframe for grief is between 18 and 24 months this can be much shorter or longer depending on the individual. So avoid pressuring or expecting them to be ready to move on if you feel they are taking too long. Only they can make that decision and will know when the time is right. You are likely to do more harm than good by saying anything.

Don’t Judge

Grief is a complex and incredibly difficult time for anyone experiencing it. The ways in which people react during grief will differ and could involve extreme emotions, outbursts and behaviour. Instead of judging their actions or believing what they are doing is wrong make sure you reassure them that this is common for anyone grieving. They will take comfort from feeling they are not unusual or different in the way they are behaving and acting. And if they at any point they express anger or frustration towards you then do everything you can to avoid taking it personally.

Be Direct

Whilst grieving it can be difficult to reach out for help. There may be feelings of guilt or that just getting through the day is hard enough as it is. Depression and exhaustion are common which make it harder to ask for the help they might need. So you should take the lead and offer your support directly. Be specific in what you can offer or do for them rather than asking what they need. It will make it far easier for them to accept your offer if it’s a very direct and specific question as opposed to something more general. Try something like “What can I get you from the supermarket?” or “Would you like me to come over and help with the housework?” instead of “Let me know if there’s anything I can do”

Offer Practical Help

Grief can be overwhelming and during the process it can be hard to function normally. The thought of doing everyday tasks might seem near impossible.

Some examples of the practical help you can offer:

  • Offering to cook for them. Alternatively cook at yours and bring round food to them.
  • Do chores and housework for them
  • Do the food shopping
  • Look after and pick their children up from school
  • Look after their pets
  • Help with the funeral
  • Accompanying them wherever they need to go

Offer an Activity

This may not be appropriate at first but as time goes by then a bereaved person will have lots of free time on their hands. They may want time to be left alone but they might also want friendship and distractions. Getting out and doing more “normal” activities can help to begin moving on and alleviating some of the grief. You could offer to take them to the cinema, get a cup of coffee or just go for a walk. However remember not to pressure or push them. If they aren’t ready yet then just leave it for the time being and try again at a later date.

Share an Experience

If you’ve also experienced a loss it can be beneficial to share your story with the bereaved. Having someone else that has been through a similar situation can be comforting. It also helps to know that eventually the grief will pass and recovery will happen. By sharing your own experience it can help to make that seem possible.

What Not to Say

There are a few things you should always avoid saying to someone grieving. These could end up causing great offence or worsening the grief.

  • “They were a good age”
  • There is never a good time to lose a loved one, whatever their age.

  • “He/she is in a better place now”
  • You may believe this but the bereaved almost certainly won’t. They will be mourning their loss and do anything to have that person back. It’s a deeply inappropriate thing to say.

  • “It’s time to move on”
  • There is no time limit for grief and whilst you might feel they should be moving on they may need more time. Let them get through it at their own speed without any pressure from you or others.

  • “It’s all part of Gods plan”
  • This may be acceptable to someone religious (although even then it might not), but for anyone else it will be very inappropriate. They won’t feel like the death of their loved one is part of any “plan”.

Avoid Religion

Following on from that it’s usually a good idea to avoid mentioning anything religious unless you are certain of their faith. To someone who already has a strong religious background and faith then they will find strength in that. But to others it will often provoke an angry reaction and could well be seen as offensive or, at best, clumsy. Please do pray for them but

No Comparisons

Don’t compare their loss to that of a pet. Whilst you may consider them to be similar there is a good chance they will find this very offensive.

Think Long-Term

Over the longer term try to remember that whilst the grief may appear to have gone it can be triggered and return by various things. Major landmarks are often tough times for anyone who has lost a loved one, so make a note of them to offer support again. Birthdays and anniversaries are the most common but anytime you think it might be tough for someone is worth trying to remember and making the effort to support them.

As grieving has no set time period then it can last as long as it takes. With that in mind you will want to ensure that you continue to provide support and assurance throughout the entire grieving period. Stay in contact on a regular basis. You don’t have to make it obvious about being there for them but just stay as a constant presence so they know they have someone to turn to. This becomes even more important once the funeral and initial stage of mourning is over.

And finally remember that the grief of a loved one stays with you forever. Acceptance will probably happen, and a coming to terms with the loss over time, but the pain will always be there. Keep this in mind in however you choose to support someone.

Further General Tips

  • Sending an email, letter or text/SMS message is acceptable. If you find it hard talking face to face then this can be a good way to stay in touch and offer some support.

  • If you promise to do something then make sure you keep it. Being let down during a time of grief can be devastating.

  • Appearances can be deceiving. Just because on the surface someone looks to be coping well doesn't mean they aren't struggling beneath. Allow them to let down this guard and show their real feelings.

  • Ways to Support a Grieving Child

    A child will experience grief in a similar way to adults but may require further support and reassurance. They take their cues from the adults they are surrounded by so make sure to show that grieving is normal and encourage them to do so. Be as clear as you can as to what has happened and ensure they don’t feel to blame in any way. If they have questions answer them as fully as honestly as possible.

    For further advice on supporting a grieving child see the websites below:

    Kidshealth guide to supporting bereaved children

    Cruse Bereavement Care – How to help a child or young person

    Depression and Suicide

    Grief will cause feelings of depression and misery but these should pass with time. If they don’t or they are actually getting worse over time then it’s possible their grief had turned into something more serious.

    If you suspect this is the case then please see the websites below for further information on what to do:

    Depression Warning Signs

    If the bereaved mentions suicide at all then please act quickly and contact one of the following:

    In the U.S. call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
    In the UK, call 08457 90 90 90.
    Or visit IASP for a helpline in your country.

    Words of sympathy for loss of mother messages and quotes

    When someone loses their mother it will be a devastating time for them. The connection between a daughter or son and their mother is like nothing else. Losing someone you thought would always be there for you, that person you turned to for comfort and support in your toughest moments – it’s one of the hardest periods of anyone’s life. And the overwhelmingly feeling will be of grief and loss.

    Attempting to come up with the right words to express your condolences for those going through such a hard time and make sure you reflect the suffering they are feeling is an near impossible task. Trying to navigate between being utterly respectful but also try to console them in the best way you can. It’s understandable to be concerned you might offend them or just not get the tone right and capture the severity and grief they’re experiencing.

    So we hope the examples of words of sympathy for loss of a mother below will be the first step to helping you write a sympathy card message for the bereaved. You can choose to use them as they are or as inspiration to write your own personal version.

    I am sorry you had to lose someone so important and special in your life. I’ll be praying for you and the rest of your family

    Moms are special people, especially ones like yours. From the time I spent with her, I could tell she was an amazing lady

    Good mothers hold a special place in their hearts for their children and most children hold a special place in their hearts for their mothers. I’m sorry for the hole that you have now

    Please accept my condolences for the loss of your mother. From what I heard, she was a great woman to be admired. I’ll be thinking about you in the coming days and saying a prayer for you now and then

    Your mother was the type of person who inspired integrity in those around her; she encouraged others to be the best people they could be. That’s reflected in your life

    May these words comfort you on the loss of your mother. I will always remember her sweet smile and beautiful nature. May God keep you in his embrace at this difficult time

    Extending my deepest sympathy on the loss of your mother and praying that your faith will give you strength in this sad time

    A mom is someone who cares deeply and always, whether you have just scraped your knee or found out about a terminal illness

    Your mom was a very special lady and loved by everyone who knew her. Please know that we share in your grief and extend our deepest sympathy to you and your family

    From what I have heard you talk about your mother, it sounds like she was a great woman. She did an excellent job raising you. I am sorry for your loss

    Moms keep us alive when we are helpless babies, so it’s our responsibility to keep mothers alive in our minds after they pass

    There’s a special place in all of our hearts for our mothers, just like there’s a special place in every mother’s heart for her children. You must continue to carry her memory in that special place in your heart. I am sincerely sorry for the loss of your mother

    Moms are important and special people. I am sorry for the loss of such a valuable person in your life. My thoughts are with you and your family at this time

    Your mother was the kindest and gentlest woman I have ever met. I feel so fortunate to have known her and extend my deepest sympathy to you and your family

    Even though moms are the quickest people to give love to children, they are also the people who their children need love from the most

    Your mother was one of the warmest and most caring people I have had the pleasure of knowing. I am sorry for your great loss

    The heart that your mother had for others is a rare gift to the many people who had the privilege to know her and be blessed by her. Please accept my condolences

    May you find peace and comfort in knowing that your grief is shared by so many. Your mom will be sorely missed. God bless you and your wonderful family

    Most people only have one mom, and that is why moms are so special. I’m sorry for your great loss

    I admire the life that your mom lived, and I can only hope that I can have as strong of a finish to my life as she did

    No one can replace your mom, but God can comfort your heart. He knows what you need during this time much better than anyone else

    sympathy words for loss of father

    Someone losing their father is one of the most difficult things they will have to go through. The bond between a son or daughter and their dad is profound and everlasting. The loss of a father can bring about not only feelings of loss and grief, but also fear. We often view our father’s as protecting us and so that loss can affect our feeling of safety. Overall though the strongest emotion wiil be grief.

    Trying to find the right words to express your sympathy towards the bereaved and the pain they are feeling is remarkably hard. You want to find the most respectful and comforting phrase you can. The worry is you will just come up with the usual tired and clichéd sayings. Not to mention the same words that everyone else will have used when expressing their sympathy.

    With all that in mind, the list of words of sympathy for loss of a father below should help to give you some ideas and inspiration for what to write in your sympathy card or say to the bereaving. Either use one of them directly or personalize it in the what you feel is the most fitting and appropriate way.

    My heartfelt condolences. Your father was an outstanding man and it seems that he has left us too soon.

    Your father always bragged about how wonderful you were. I hope you know that you meant the world to him. He was a wonderful man and will be missed. Truly sorry for your loss.

    Your father was one of the nicest people I know and I know that he was a great dad too. You have my deepest sympathy on your loss.

    I am truly sorry for your loss. There is not grieving message that can express how much he meant to me. My heart is aching.

    No matter wherever he is, he’ll always be watching over you. He will stay with you forever.

    I was so sorry to hear about your father’s passing. I know this is a very sad and difficult time for you and your family. You have my very deepest sympathy

    I am sorry to hear about the loss of your father. If you feel like talking to someone, know that I am a good listener.

    I cannot tell you how sorry I was to hear about your dad. I was shocked and saddened by the news. Please extend my sympathy to your mom and the rest of your family.

    The loss of one’s father marks one of the most profound rites of passage in our life.

    My condolences to you for the passing of your father. There will never be another man like him.

    I am really sorry for you loss. I know how close you were to your father and what an influence he had on your life. We will miss him.

    I hope it comforts you to know that your grief is shared by all of us who knew your dad. He was a wonderful man and he will be sorely missed

    I am deeply and sincerely sorry for the loss of your father.

    Life doesn’t seem fair sometimes and this is one of those moments. Your father was one of the good guys. I will miss him terribly. My condolences.

    I will keep you close in my thoughts and prayers in the coming weeks as you are going through your process of grieving.

    A father may pass on but his thoughts, hopes and dreams live on in us

    Your father was always there for my family and I growing up. He was so giving and thoughtful. He will live on in our heart forever.

    Losing your dad can be extremely difficult because you are losing a source of strength, stability and consistency in your life. I am sorry for your loss.

    Your dad was a wise man, but at the same time, he had a great sense of humor. He will be missed greatly and remembered often.