Knowing what to say to someone who has lost a loved one is difficult. I’m a funeral director so you would think I would always know what to say, right?
Wrong – but I do know what I can say when I don’t know what to say…I’ll explain.
My first bit of advice is to be sincere and speak from your heart. Depending on your relationship with the family and the person who died, you may want to share a fond memory or short story about the deceased.
If you don’t have a story and can’t think of what to say, Keep it Simple! Tell the family that you are sorry for their loss. A simple “I’m sorry for your loss” or “I’m sorry about your mom” is sufficient. You don’t have to say anything profound. Your presence is more important at the time of a loss than what you say.
Finally, avoid giving advice or using cliches. For more on this, see my post titled Things not to say…