Comforting Things To Say To Someone Who Just Lost A Parent
Published August 26, 2020
“Grief sucks.” – Everyone ever.
The cycle of life starts with birth and ends with death. This is a fact known to virtually every human being. It seems, however, that no matter how much we accept this reality, the death of a loved one will always hurt deeply.
Our parents are meant to leave us. From the moment we are born, they love us, provide for us, and help us navigate through this thing called life. Ideally, they also teach us how to be decent human beings and responsible citizens in society. Since the start, our parents have always prepared us to leave them one day and lead respectable lives.
Ironic, isn’t it? – how we prepared ourselves to leave our parents but never prepared for the day they leave us.
Hopefully, you still have your parents, and that dreadful day is still a long way from the present. Even if our parents leave us in the most painless and harmonious way, culminating a happy and peaceful life, the grief that follows is some of the most intense you’ll ever experience.
The grieving process is not one that concludes in a matter of days or weeks. In fact, the pain could be deeply embedded, lasting months, even years. Having a close-knit circle of friends to serve as your support system is incredibly crucial at this time. And while people process grief differently, having people you can rely on in your lowest moments definitely helps you with this weight on your shoulders.
Sometimes, you will need to be that friend to someone else. If one of your friends recently suffered a great loss, here are ways you can show them your support and care through such a troubling time.
Examples of What You can say to Someone who Lost their parent
Finding the right words to say to someone is essential in helping them deal with grief. For some of us that are less skilled with words, expressing what we truly want to say can be hard. If you’re finding yourself grasping at straws, careful not to say the wrong thing, here are some things you can tell someone processing their parent’s loss:
- “Your dad was an amazing guy. If I ever have kids, I’d be lucky if I could be half as good a father as he was to you (and your siblings).”
- “Remember how your mom used to treat us to pizza on weekends? We should grab some for the good old days and toast to her.”
- “I know you’re feeling incredibly unsettled right now. Just know that if you ever need someone to talk to, I will be here for you.”
- “I can’t possibly imagine what you’re going through right now, but I hope you know I’ll be here if you need anyone.”
- “The thing I remember most about your dad is how proud he was of you. I hope you know how much he loved being your father.”
- “Your mom’s kindness is unmatched. I see she left a lot of the same qualities in you.
You’ll want to avoid phrases like “It was his time,” or “This is all a part of God’s plan” unless they say it first. These cliches can come off as rather insensitive and tone-deaf, and we know those aren’t your intentions.
Other things you should do for your friend who lost a parent
Be there for them.
You don’t need to prepare an extensive step-by-step mourning program for your friend. Being there for someone is one of the simplest yet equally effective ways to comfort someone. Often, people may not be able or even want to express their grief through words.
Favors are a fantastic way of helping someone in grief. You can do subtle things like bringing them food, cleaning their house, or cooking for them. Spend some quality time doing things they love: take them out for a drink or a walk. Instead of asking them if there’s anything you can do for them, just do it.
Help them process their emotions.
As time passes, the best thing you can provide someone is reassurance and a safe space to process the ebbs and flows of emotions they’re feeling. Grief and mourning can lead people to come across a whole flurry of things they might literally be experiencing for the first time. You want to empower them to accept help and express themselves on their terms. Here are some questions terrific for doing just that:
- What are you feeling today?
- How are you thinking about your mom or dad right now?
- What memories are vividly coming to mind when you think of this person?
Grief doesn’t go away after the first month. It may not even go away after the first year. It sticks with you forever, lingering in various sizes and intensities. It can re-open like a scab, and it may hurt as much as it did when it was fresh.
Be that friend who’s there through everything. Be the one that randomly checks up on that person when they need it most. Especially on special days like their parent’s birthday, mother’s day, or father’s day, you want to see how your friend’s doing. Do all these things out of love for your friend because they’ll need it most in such a troublesome time.
About The Author
Terrence Tan Ting is an industrial engineer by profession but a full time writer by passion. He loves to write about a wide range of topics from many different industries thanks to his undying curiosity.