How to Express Condolences and Show Deep Sympathy

Image source

Losing a loved one is always a painful experience. So, when someone close to us goes through such an event, it’s only normal that we want to do everything in our power to help them feel if only a tiny bit better. In case you’ve never been in a situation where you have to comfort someone after a big loss, you might be scared of doing or saying the wrong thing. Many people are unsure of how to approach an individual who has lost someone they care about, but that shouldn’t prevent us from providing a grieving person with love and support.

As it’s always better to say something than do nothing at all, you can rest assured that the person you care about will not hold it against you even if you make a wrong move. They will simply remember that you were there during a very difficult time in their life. With that in mind, here are a few ways how you can show your support, express condolences, and show deep sympathy to a person that has lost someone important to them.

Express your condolences with words

Perhaps you are aware of the types of love languages. Well, many of them can be applied when helping someone deal with a loss. For instance, using words of affirmation is all about expressing how you feel about a person through appreciation and praise.

When talking to someone who is dealing with a loss, you can also use kind and compassionate words to provide them with some comfort. Fortunately, there are various ways how you can express yourself through words. Start by calling them once you hear the news and expressing your condolences, simply by saying that you are sorry for their loss and that you are there if they need you for anything. If you’re not that close to the person, you can also think about sending a text, email, or card in the mail.

On the other hand, if you too were close to the person that passed away, you can consider leaving a note in the online obituary guestbook or sharing a cherished memory on your social media page that will always be there as a reminder of the good times and provide the person grieving with the opportunity to reread it countless time, whenever they need to.

Sharing memories of the people that are gone doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Don’t be afraid to mention them and say their name. Your friend will not resent you but simply enjoy the good times and fun stories and remember their loved one’s personality, laugh, and quirks, which is sure to bring them comfort, regardless of how bittersweet it might be.

Something to remember, however, when expressing your condolences is that you should not compare grief. Don’t tell them that you know how they feel because each person and relationship is unique. Moreover, don’t minimize their pain or try to offer offensive advice such as that they can remarry, have more kids, or get another pet. Just tell them how sorry you are that they are going through the current circumstances and acknowledge that they are having a hard time.

A few phrases to keep in mind (that you can personalize further) include:

  • “There are no words to describe how sorry I am for what you’re going through.”
  • “I’m so sorry to hear about your loss.”
  • “My deepest condolences to you and your loved ones.”
  • “Their kindness and generosity is something I’ll always remember.”
  • “They were truly one of a kind.”

Use gestures to show that you care

Some people react better to gestures that show how much you care about them and the person that’s passed away. There are different ways how you can show your sympathies through gestures as well.

For instance, in case the person died due to a long and complicated illness, you can consider donating to a charity that battles that disease, in their name. Moreover, maybe their obituary lists a certain beneficiary or organization that the family would like people to donate to. That way, you will acknowledge what was important to them, keep their memory alive, and help others.

On the other hand, you can also send a gift of sorts to the person that’s going through difficult times. For example, a plant is a common expression of love and caring, so find a symbolic plant that will last your friend for many years to come and remind them of the person they lost. Moreover, you can also send thoughtful and sophisticated funeral flowers as a heartfelt tribute to the deceased. These are easy to send even if you’re in a different country and still want to show your loved ones how much you care. Look into the option of leaving a message on a ribbon as well. Consider writing:

  • “Always in our hearts.”
  • “In loving memory.”
  • “With fondest memories.”

Show your sympathy through actions

Besides gestures, actions can also sometimes be louder than words. If you notice that the person that’s grieving is feeling helpless and starting to not take proper care of themselves, you can step in and help them with various obligations.

For instance, you can try to be practical and help them with household chores. Make sure they always have something to eat. If they live alone, maybe you can go over there for lunch and eat together. If you don’t have time to cook, you can look into healthy meal delivery and ensure they have a delicious lunch delivered every day. You can also go grocery shopping together as that will get them out of the house if they’ve been cooped up since the loss. Even if they don’t care about it, be mindful that you get them plenty of staples that are easy to prepare and can last long. Then, you can also see if they would mind if you cleaned up a bit, vacuumed, dusted, washed the windows, dishes, and laundry, mowed the lawn, removed the snow, and so on.

Help them with paying the bills, loans, and other financial obligations. Check if they can cover all the expenses on their own or if they need help. Rally a few of your closest friends to see if anyone can pitch in.

If there are guests from out of town that are visiting for the funeral, see if they need a place to stay or someone to drive them around.

While the person that needs help might not always tell you so openly, you should still ask and see in what other ways you can be helpful as you really don’t mind and want to be of as much assistance as possible.

Keep reaching out to them

A very important thing to remember is that you need to keep reaching out to your loved one that’s suffered a loss. Spending some time with them and helping out once you first get the news is fine and very helpful, but you shouldn’t forget about their grief and suffering in no time.

Even after the services are over, you want to keep checking up on your friend and visiting them to see how they are doing. They will greatly appreciate the fact that you’re still thinking about them.

Moreover, keep in mind that many people retreat after losing a loved one and start to isolate themselves. You don’t want this to happen to your friend as well, as it can lead to severe depression and other issues. Make sure you get them out of the house regularly, gather with other friends, and even consider taking up a hobby together. It can be anything from working out together and going on bike rides or hikes to taking up knitting, painting, or candle-making. Perhaps these activities can help them process their pain and grief while not being alone.

Be there to listen

Finally, you also want to provide your friend with a listening ear. Just like you can go outside and take part in various activities, you also want to provide them with a safe space where they can say everything that’s on their mind and feel a bit better.

For instance, they might simply need to tell someone how hard it’s been since they’ve lost that special person and how lonely they’ve been feeling. Maybe they just need to cry it out. Be there for them and let them have a person they can rely on for everything and anything.

On the other hand, perhaps they are feeling happy and just need someone to share their joy with. Perhaps they’ve struggled for a while but are finally feeling better and starting to accept their new circumstances. Maybe they want to reminisce and talk about all the happy moments they shared with their loved one. If you were present for those too, you can surely have a nice time.

It’s never easy to deal with losing someone. However, as you don’t want to see a person close to you devastated, you’re surely looking for ways how you can help them feel a bit better. It will take time so just be there and help them cope.