I Am Next in Line, What Do I Say?

By: Myles O'Riordan
Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Funerals can be awkward times. How do you accurately express sympathy with friends or family who have lost a loved one? It’s much worse at a memorial or the funeral itself. With the crowds of people attending, it’s easy to feel like you’re just overwhelming the mourners. All too often, we settle for a limp handshake and a mumbled apology.

If you’re unsure of how to act or what to say, here’s a brief overview of what to say and what not to say.

What Not to Say

Before anything else, you need to know what not to say. Things like “at least she lived a long life, many people die young,” “they’re in a better place,” “everything happens for a reason,” “I know how you feel,” or “be strong,” at best sound empty or at worst can hurt or anger the mourners.

Don’t deny or belittle the emotions they’re going through. Give them enough space and time to breathe and grieve. Another thing to avoid is trying to find an upside. “At least, he died suddenly, rather than after a prolonged illness,” or “at least she lived long enough to say goodbye,” can be seen as incredibly offensive, and if you’re thinking of saying something similar, you should consider your choice of words very carefully.

What You Should Say

Many people are at a loss for words when it comes to comforting someone who is grieving. If you don't know what to say, keep it simple. “I’m so sorry for your loss.” “The deceased will be sorely missed by all of us.” “I know how much the deceased loved and cared for those they left behind.” Talk about how much you cared for the deceased and how bereaved you feel.

Telling stories and sharing warm remembrances about the person who has died can be good things to lead with. Remind the mourners of their accomplishments in their lifetime and what they meant to you will be much more appreciated than a “sorry for your loss.”

If you’re unsure of what to say, think of your relationship with the deceased, whom you are saying this to and whom you are saying this about. Think of the reason YOU liked them and why you are there at this time. With that in mind, you will probably be able to find something perfect for their family to hear.

Do what you can to offer comfort and assistance, but try to be aware of any sign that your help is no longer needed. Don’t crowd the mourners or keep any other guests from speaking to them. The goal is to try and help make a terribly difficult situation a little easier, but if you can’t do that, at least don’t make it more awkward. 

 

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:
Please enter the letters you see in the image.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

Ideas for Memorializing Your Loved One after the Service

Whenever a loved one passes away, you want to keep something that belonged to them, in honor of their memory. Many choose photographs, paintings or videos while others choose something unique and s...

What To Discuss During the Funeral Arrangement Meeting

Arranging a funeral can be a difficult task. At Wagg Funeral Home, it is our goal to provide you with simple solutions to make this difficult time as stress-free as possible. Here are a few po...

What is Direct Cremation Disposition?

Direct cremation disposition is an option in which the body is cremated quickly after the death. There is usually no funeral service held before the cremation. It is one of the most affordable fune...

Helping Yourself Heal From Loss

Loss affects everyone differently and while others can sympathize, they can’t really understand how it impacts you. Healing is a personal journey that involves effort, commitment, and space. At Wag...

Common Misconceptions about Pre-Planning Your Funeral

Most modern funeral homes provide pre-planning options where an individual can plan and make arrangements for the funeral well before their demise. This is often a part of the end-of-life preparati...

A Complete Understanding of Funeral Pricing

Funerals can be expensive affairs, especially if you choose to make some personal additions to the service. Most people are unaware of what funeral pricing includes and end up paying more than they...

Tips for Explaining Death to Children

Discussing death is never easy but it can be especially harrowing to discuss it with a child. Most people don’t know how to handle it so they gloss over the subject as much as they can. That has an...

What Steps Are Involved in Preparing a Funeral Service?

When a family is organizing a funeral service for a loved one, they have some specific ideas about how the service should be. And while there may be some aspects that are different based on what th...

4 Funeral Etiquette Tips You Need to Know

Funerals can be quite difficult for everyone involved. The decedent’s friends and family members are in mourning during this period and may feel more grieved or hurt at any perceived slight. This i...

Canadian Military Honours

One of Canada’s interesting inheritances from the United Kingdom has been its elaborate system of honours, titles and awards based on traditions followed by the British aristocracy. This practice m...