Some people may feel uncomfortable at a funeral because they’re not sure about what to do or say when it comes to offering condolences to someone who is grieving. While death may be an extremely uncomfortable topic, the worst thing you can do is ignore it when it occurs in the family of a friend or coworker.
The closer your relationship to the bereaved, the sooner you should contact him or her. Whether you are offering condolences by calling, sending a note or flowers, or visiting, it is important to make a gesture that lets the bereaved know you’re thinking of them and share their sorrow.
What To Say To Express Sympathy
The goal of expressing sympathy is to offer your compassion and concern for the bereaved. The most important thing to communicate is that you care about the bereaved person and you are available as a source of support.
- You’re so sorry to hear this sad news.
- What a wonderful person the deceased was.
- How much you loved this person and that you will always remember them.
- How much the deceased loved and cared for the people who are left behind.
- When they’re ready, how you’d like to learn more about the deceased’s life.
Don’t be afraid to use the name of the deceased, to recall a happy memory, or to share a warm remembrance about how the person enriched your life. Those remembrances will help the family through the grieving process and be treasured for years.
What Not To Say
A bereaved person is typically feeling overwhelmed and highly emotional, so it’s important to acknowledge the situation and speak out of compassion. It is inappropriate to make statements that imply that the death was for the best or that show disrespect for the deceased. It is also insensitive to probe for details of the death or the person’s final moments. Also be careful about making spiritual or religious references unless you know those sentiments will be well received.
Offer Help as Follow Up
Support the bereaved in taking the time and space that he or she may need. Ask them whether you can bring food over, do some chores, or anything else to help them in such a stressful time. For many people, it can be a great comfort to know that their friends or relatives are thinking of them.