When a loved one loses someone special, it is very difficult to know exactly what to say to console their pain. With all of your heart, you want to love them and comfort them but may feel fearful of saying the wrong thing or incorrectly expressing yourself. Since many feel paralyzed by the correct form of outreach, they stay silent instead.

In an effort not to have your silence come across of lack of concern, it’s best to be honest. Speaking from your heart is always the best, genuine, and most appreciated approach to most situations, especially one as delicate as this.

Encouraging words may include:

– I’m praying for you.

– I love you.

– I’m here for you. (And mean it! If they reach out to you in a time of need, please don’t let them down.)

In this situation, actions may speak much louder than words.

– Reach out and hold them

– Hold their hand and pray with them

– Go for a walk with them, so they can get out into the fresh air

– Sit with them in support and allow them to grieve, freely releasing their emotion

For many people, the most emotional part of grieving the loss of their loved one occurs after their funeral. Once everyone has returned to their “normal” lives, they are forced to live with the realization that their special person will not be returning home. Although spiritual belief holds that our loved ones will flourish in heaven, our human hearts ache knowing that our future life will not include our person in the flesh.

This is the time when your loved one will need their family and friends the most.

Actions that will make them feel loved, comforted, and supported during this time are subtle gestures of help. They include simple things such as:

– Stop by with a baked casserole, bag of bagels & cream cheese, or other prepared food, so they don’t have to worry about putting a meal together for the family

– Stop by to help them clean their house, do their laundry, or other simple household chores

– Offer to pick up or watch their children

– Stop by to take them out to lunch, dinner, coffee, a walk in the park, etc…

– Reminisce with them about the fun times shared with the person they have lost

– Keeping the person’s memory alive in conversations, gatherings, and outings may help your loved one feel closer to them. Happy memories warm our hearts and give us strength to continue our march.

Remembering the dearly departed and including their memory at family events and during family prayer, may help the entire family through the healing process, as well. Since birthdays, heaven days, and holidays will be quite difficult for your loved one, make it a point to offer them flowers, a loving phone call, a big hug, or cards to let them know that they are loved and that the memory of the one they lost is still alive and well. Most of all, it will make them feel loved and supported.

Most importantly, we must all remember that everyone handles grief in their own unique way. As a result, we must all do our best to be respectful and adjust our outreach in an effort to best support our loved one. However, I believe it is also our obligation to the people we love that we don’t allow their season of grieving to turn into a lifetime of grieving.

The best way to honor the lives of the people we’ve lost is to live ours to the fullest. Be happy. Show up. Enjoy life. Show gratitude. Fulfill dreams. Love deeply and completely. 

After all, they wouldn’t want us to stay sad and in a spirit of grief forever. Instead, I believe, the dearly departed would want us to cherish their memory by continuing forward, walking our steps in faith.