Thoughts about expressing sympathy

I’m not an expert in this, but in thinking about the passing of Robert Miller – I put together these thoughts* about what might be appropriate to say and/or put in a card when expressing sympathy to a family member or a friend. Your comments should express sorrow at the pain the person is experiencing and not make a judgment or an assumption.

Thoughts you could say or write:

  • “I’m sorry.”
  • “I’m sorry for your loss.”
  • “Please let me know if there anything I can do.”
  • “You are in my thoughts and prayers.”
  • “I’m so sorry (he/she) is no longer here with us.”
  • “(He/She) was a wonderful person.”
  • “I remember … ” Share something positive about the person (keep it brief)

Things you probably shouldn’t say or write

  • “At least, (He/She) is not suffering any more.”
  • “I understand your grief and/or loss.”
  • “God has a purpose for this.”
  • “I know what you are feeling.” (rarely do 2 people feel the same)
  • “Everything happens for a reason.”
  • “(He/She) is in a better place.”
  • “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”
  • “Are you feeling better yet?”

What thoughts have you heard if/when you’ve lost a loved one that meant a lot to you and what thoughts did you not like hearing?

*Some of these I gathered from other sites/sources, others are mine

1 thought on “Thoughts about expressing sympathy”

  1. One of the worse ones for me was "it could always be worse". Not only did it not bring any comfort, at all, it was upsetting.

    What helped when people didn't know what to say, was "I don't know what to say, but I just wanted you to know how sorry I am, and that my heart is breaking for your family. We'll be praying."

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