What to Say when Someone Dies…..

This week, very dear friends said good-bye to their teenage daughter here on earth. She may be gone from their presence but they have the calm reassurance that she is fully alive and healed in the presence of Jesus.  Knowing this brings peace and comfort but not having their daughter to hold and see and touch and feel is a devastating loss.  Death is a tricky path to journey. On one hand, relief at your loved one no longer being in pain and yet, so much pain at losing someone you cherish.

Emma~a photo taken in hospital by her mom, Michelle. (borrowed from Instagram)

Emma~a photo taken in hospital by her mom, Michelle. (borrowed from Instagram)

Last fall I read a book by Lisa Elliott. I recommended it then and I cannot recommend it highly enough now. She is very open about her journey through grief as her son fought cancer for a year and ultimately received his healing in the presence of God too. Lisa shares so many practical tips in her book and I thought this was a great time to post some of them. I know people fighting cancer. I know friends who are dealing with palliative care, friends who have just passed away recently, friends and family continuing to grieve months and even years after the deaths of loved ones.

All of us are well-meaning but sometimes we need someone to tell us what to say, what NOT to say and what we can do.  Listen to these words…..really listen. I have been guilty of saying and doing the wrong thing at the wrong time and this is so helpful.


prac tips1


pract tips 2




Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback church in California , posted this just this week after continuing to grieve over a month after the death of his son:  





pract tips3

Another post from Rick Warren:





pract tips4


The above page is critical…..”LISTEN” . Sometimes that’s all we should be doing.

pract tips 4.5

prac tips5


I can’t really add anything other than to simplify it and say: Listen. Don’t minimize someone’s loss by sharing your own story of so-and-so who died from the same thing.  Be available but don’t hover. And for goodness’ sake, a family can only handle so much lasagna.  Get creative with meals(gift cards are great).

And lastly, after all the friends go home and the loved one is laid to rest….there is still a hole that remains.  A card a month , 6 months or a year later means a lot. Don’t forget to call and pray.  Grief has no time limits. Just because you go back to your routine doesn’t mean the grieving family does. They now have to find a new routine without their precious daughter, sister, mom, dad, brother, grandpa. Be patient and be there.

4 thoughts on “What to Say when Someone Dies…..

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this. When my mother passed I lost an entire family and my best friend because no one knew how to deal with my grieving, I wish someone had shared this with them. Through my loss, I have learned the proper way to be a “shoulder” for others and I pray that God will always make me sympathetic to their situations. God bless you!

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