Help! I Don’t Know What To Say!

When a person is experiencing grief because someone close to them has died, he or she needs their friends, family, and work family to serve as a support system. Sometimes friends do not know what to say. And that is quite understandable.

I have provided a few simple DO’s and DONT’s based on what I have found helpful when others have expressed sympathy and extended comfort to me.


DO listen to me. I cannot emphasize this enough. Listen to my feelings and let me express my anger, frustration, guilt, self-pity or anything else I may feel at the moment, whether you agree or not. I must acknowledge and work through my feelings so I can grow from this experience.

DO be patient with me. I do not know when things will be back to “normal”.  They may never be. Until then, I will have many, many ups and downs, good days and bad days.

DO avoid cliches such as “at least he is not suffering” or “she is in a better place”. I realize this, however, I am more concerned about myself, and how I am going to make it through today.

DO mention his or her name. What a beautiful sound to my ears!

Most people are afraid to mention the name of the loved one and may be afraid of saying the wrong thing.  I know that most people do not know what to say.  With grief, just remember that less is more and a simple “I’m sorry for your loss” will go a long way!

Kelli Bressman Horn

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