Simple Ways To Show Sympathy To Someone In Grief

Picture credit: Sarcasm

Showing sympathy to a grieving person isn’t so hard after all.

This morning, my daughter’s teacher stopped me in the hallway to say thank you. He had just seen the message that I’d posted in the online guest book for his mother, who died a couple of weeks ago. “I didn’t even realize that it existed until my sister showed me,” he said, and seemed moved that I had taken the time to find the guest book and sign it.

His “thank you” was a good reminder for me that it doesn’t take much. Even a short message of condolence (“I’m so sorry for your loss” or “You’re in our thoughts”) from an acquaintance can be of comfort to someone who is grieving. We get busy and don’t always take the time. But, fortunately, it doesn’t take much.

Here are a few simple things you can do or say to offer sympathy and support:

  • Attend the visitation or funeral, if possible, even if it makes you uncomfortable.
  • Lend a helping hand, help out with grocery shopping, carpooling or other chores. Let them know that you’re there to talk about what’s happened.
  • Memorial giving is a thoughtful way to honor the deceased, as is sending sympathy flowers (did you know each flower has a different meaning?).
  • Keep in touch. Send an email or card, leave a phone message, let the bereaved know you are thinking of them in the months after. Reach out to the survivors on the deceased’s birthday, holidays like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, or the anniversary of the death.

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