24 Things To Say to Someone Who Is Going to a Funeral

The loss of a family member or friend can be a really tough time for all of us. Even if you didn’t know the deceased, you might need to express condolences to loved ones that you do know. Whether you’re attending the service or not, there are some great ways to show someone how much you care with just words. 

Here are 24 things to say to someone who is going to a funeral: 

  1. “I’m sorry for your loss.”
  2. “I’m sorry that you’re hurting right now.”
  3. “(The deceased) was a good person.”
  4. “Is there any way I can help you?”
  5. “Would you like to see me after the funeral?”
  6. “Do you need a ride?” 
  7. “I know this is a really hard time for you.”
  8. “We can talk whenever you want to.”
  9. “Want to hear my favorite story of (the deceased)?”
  10. “Do you have enough food?”
  11. “I miss (the deceased) too.” 
  12. “Would you like to just sit with me?”
  13. “Give my love to your family/friends.”
  14. “I’ll be thinking about you on that day.”
  15. “Grief is a unique experience.” 
  16. “I’m sorry I never got to meet (the deceased).”
  17. “Is there a way I could make the funeral easier for you?” 
  18. “I don’t know what to say, but I’m here to listen.”
  19. “Don’t forget to take care of yourself.”
  20. “Would you feel comfortable with a hug?”
  21. “Please remember that you’re not alone.”
  22. “I’m going to leave my phone on tonight.” 
  23. “Can I check on you after the funeral?”
  24. “Do you want to hear what helped me with grieving?”

We may wish to convey so many feelings to those struggling with grief, but sometimes our words fail us. So, if you’re unsure of what to say to someone who just lost a loved one, then let’s take a closer look at these phrases and how they can be helpful. 

  1. “I’m Sorry for Your Loss.”

This is a classic, though a sometimes overused response to a friend or loved one losing someone close to them. It’s the first on the list because it’s popular and effective, especially for people we don’t know well. It’s also great for distant friends or coworkers we don’t normally speak to. 

Despite being popular, this comment can be seen as impersonal. So, it’s best to use it with people you don’t have an existing relationship with. There are other, better options for you to consider saying to friends and family. 

2. “I’m Sorry That You’re Hurting Right Now.” 

This is a much more personal option than the previous comment. It shows that you’re aware that the person is hurting right now and acknowledge that. Emotional validation is vital during times of grief, but many don’t know how to express it properly. 

During the time of loss, we tend to feel hurt. Acknowledging that you recognize that the person is hurting and are sorry that they feel that way is a great way to validate their feelings and let them know you support them. 

3. “(The Deceased) Was a Good Person.” 

This comment will only be effective if you knew the deceased. If you knew the deceased enough to have this knowledge, it can be comforting for someone to hear that they weren’t alone in their appreciation of a loved one who just passed away. 

4. “Is There Any Way I Can Help You?”

This is a meaningful and loaded way to show you’re there for the grieving person. Make sure to only ask this if you intend to follow through with any requests they may make. Remember, this is a trying time for them, so they may lean on their friends and family for support. 

This question can bring an immediate sense of relief to anyone, especially while dealing with grief. With this question, you’re making yourself available to the grieving person for whatever they may need help with. 

5. “Would You Like To See Me After the Funeral?”

One part of a funeral that we often forget is what to do after. Sometimes families will go out to dinner or just sit at home in their grief. We often don’t plan this part. 

We’re often busy seeing friends and family during a funeral, receiving well wishes, or making sure the service happens smoothly. Once the rush of the day is over, the grief may hit more intensely as people are left alone with their thoughts. So, offering to be with them during this time is meaningful and can really help someone who’s struggling. 

6. “Do You Need a Ride?”

Offering a ride to a funeral is a kind gesture, but it can mean a lot more than just convenience. Driving while feeling strong emotions can impair the driver’s ability and raise the likelihood of an accident. 

Driving while crying or fighting intense feelings is dangerous. Driving itself can be stressful for many people. So, offering a ride can ensure the grieving person arrives safely to the funeral without worrying about dealing with cars and other drivers on the road. 

7. “I Know This Is a Really Hard Time for You.”

This is another example of emotional validation, as we discussed above. Acknowledging that a funeral and the period of grief that follows a loss is a hard time is a great way to validate the grieving person’s experience without making assumptions. Instead of saying that you understand how they feel, consider just letting them know that you understand that whatever they’re feeling is tough. 

8. “We Can Talk Whenever You Want To.” 

This is a great way to let the grieving person know that you’re ready to listen whenever they’re ready to talk. Instead of asking if they’d like to talk about it at that moment, implying it has to be now, this comment tells them that you’re available to talk on their time. 

9. “Want To Hear My Favorite Story of (the Deceased)?”

Consider asking the grieving person first rather than immediately jumping into a long story about something kind, funny, or wild that the deceased did. Sometimes, it’s hard to hear about the deceased during the grieving process as the loss is so fresh and raw. 

So, asking before you share stories is a great way to show that you want to share your experience, but only if the grieving person is ready to hear it. 

10. “Do You Have Enough Food?”

This question is similar to asking if the grieving person needs help, but it’s a more specific offer of help. During a time of loss, people can forget simple things like going to the grocery store as funeral preparations become their top priority. 

Sometimes, the best thing that we can offer those grieving is to help them with simple tasks like grocery shopping or cooking. 

Man comforting his sad mourning friend embracing her in a park

11. “I Miss (the Deceased) Too.”

Sometimes, the best we can do for those struggling is to share in their experience. Let the person know that you also miss the deceased if they meant something to you, too. Saying that you miss the deceased too says that you understand that the person is grieving and share that grief. 

12. “Would You Like To Just Sit With Me?”

We aren’t always ready to talk about our grief during the grieving process. Sometimes we can be too sad or simply don’t have the energy for words. But this doesn’t mean that we want to be alone. Offering to be near a grieving person without forcing conversation can be comforting. So, let them just sit with you and feel however they feel without being alone. 

13. “Give My Love to Your Family/Friends.”

You can use this as more of a farewell. Once you’ve shown love and understanding to the grieving person, make it clear that it extends to others that they’re close with as well. Though you may not be able to see or speak with them, letting people know that you’re thinking of them and love them is powerful in times of grief. 

14. “I’ll Be Thinking About You on That Day.”

We all know the overused term of sending thoughts and prayers. This is a better and more personal way to let them know that you’re thinking about them during this time.

Whenever the funeral is, let the person know that you’ll be thinking about them specifically on that day, knowing how much they’ll struggle. 

15. “Grief Is a Unique Experience.”

This phrase isn’t a conversation starter, but it’s worth sharing if your friend shows any confusion or hesitation about how they feel. Grief is truly subjective, and we can help those who feel many different ways understand that it’s okay to feel how they feel. 

Being conflicted with our feelings is common during times of loss and grief. So, let the grieving person know that whatever they may be feeling is valid, and there’s no “correct” way to grieve. 

16. “I’m Sorry I Never Got To Meet (the Deceased).”

This comment is a great way to show love to someone even if you’ve never met them. It can be hard to comfort someone grieving when we don’t know the deceased. This comment allows you to state how much you wish that you had. 

This comment can also allow the grieving person to open up and talk freely about the deceased without prying or asking specific questions.

17. “Is There a Way I Could Make the Funeral Easier for You?”

This is another specific way to offer help. Funerals are stressful and often involve a lot of planning. So, offering to help with a funeral can be a big relief to those who are planning one. 

Be prepared to help in whatever way the person asks of you. They may ask you to come and be with them or prepare food. Maybe they need help with keeping track of gifts for thank you notes. Sometimes the simplest tasks can be the most difficult during this time. So, asking to help can mean a lot. 

18. “I Don’t Know What To Say, but I’m Here To Listen.”

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you don’t know what to say, it’s okay to say that. However, it’s important to follow that up with some sort of support. Honesty will get you far during times of grief, and being upfront about not knowing what to say is better than faking a comment that isn’t sincere. 

19. “Don’t Forget To Take Care of Yourself.”

Sometimes self-care slips through the cracks when we’re dealing with death. Forgetting to eat, losing sleep, and other ways of not taking care of yourself are common during this time. So, it can be helpful to remind the grieving person that they need to remember to also take care of themselves. 

20. “Would You Feel Comfortable With a Hug?”

Rather than just going in for a hug, asking first can help the person know you care about what they want and how they feel. Not everyone enjoys physical contact. So, asking first can show that you want to support them, but you also respect their boundaries. 

21. “Please Remember That You’re Not Alone.”

It’s good to remind the person that they aren’t alone. After the death of a loved one, we can feel more alone and isolated than ever. So, don’t be afraid to remind them that they matter to you and you’re there for them during this difficult time. 

22. “I’m Going To Leave My Phone On Tonight.”

This short sentence says a lot to someone who’s struggling with grief. They may not be sleeping well or taking great care of themselves right now. So, letting them know you’re available no matter what time it is can give them a sense of security that they aren’t alone. 

So, tell them you’re leaving your phone on to let them know they can call anytime they need to. Make sure you follow through with the offer and be prepared to lose some sleep if they call and need to talk.

23. “Can I Check on You After the Funeral?”

If you don’t make plans with them after the funeral, you can still ensure they’re alright by letting them know you’ll check on them. Don’t forget to follow through with this request, even if you have to set a reminder for yourself. 

After a funeral, people can often feel the loss even harder. We can get wrapped up with the planning and stress of a funeral, but we may struggle to be by ourselves when it’s over. So, check up on the grieving person after it’s over and see what they need. 

24. “Do You Want To Hear What Helped Me With Grieving?”

It’s very important to ask before offering any advice. Sometimes, people don’t want to hear about how you overcame your own struggles while they’re battling theirs. But it can be beneficial to share some advice if they want it. 

So, ask if the grieving person wants to hear some advice. If they do, let them know what you did to help you with your grief. Be honest about what helped you, even if it seems small or insignificant. You can even then offer to help them with that step if needed. 


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Alex Noel

Hi there! I'm Alex Noel and live in Indianapolis, Indiana. I started this website to share my experience. My goal is to provide Americans a more fulfilling goodbye.

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