Offering kind words, sharing a memory, listening, or providing practical help are good ways to express sympathy. Expressing sympathy communicates support and caring as a friend or loved one navigates through the emotional grief process.
Comforting words such as “I’m sorry for your loss” or “I’m thinking of you” are simple ways to convey support. Nonverbal communication such as a hug and direct eye contact also communicate concern.
Sharing a memory of what a deceased loved one said or did to enrich your life is a thoughtful way to ease the pain of grieving for someone you care about. This is a way to honor the deceased while keeping their memory alive. Allow a grieving individual the opportunity to lead the conversation. Listen without feeling the need to “fix” their pain. Grieving is a process that takes time. Talking through the process can be a great help. Assistance with childcare, household chores or running errands are practical ways to ease the burden of everyday living while the grieving individual gathers their strength to continue living life without their loved one. Volunteering to assist with practical matters is a gesture that goes above and beyond a sympathy card or phone call.