How to comfort someone over text when someone dies

Download Article Co-authored by Jennifer Mueller, JD Last Updated: October 13, 2021 References Download Article

How to comfort someone over text when someone dies

Download Article   Co-authored by Jennifer Mueller, JD

Last Updated: October 13, 2021 References

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This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD. Jennifer Mueller is a wikiHow Content Creator. She specializes in reviewing, fact-checking, and evaluating wikiHow's content to ensure thoroughness and accuracy. Jennifer holds a JD from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 2006.

This article has been viewed 34,465 times.

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Getting a text from a friend or loved one telling you someone has died is one of the worst situations imaginable. If you knew the person who died, you're likely experiencing shock and grief yourself. But even if you didn't know them, it's still a tough situation. It's hard to know how to respond or what to say to someone going through something that can be so painful. That's why we here at wikiHow have gathered some ideas you can use to help bring comfort and empathize with someone who's grieving a loss.

Steps

1 1 of 11:"I'm sorry for your loss."

This is the most basic way to express your condolences. You could also try simply saying "I'm sorry." If you find yourself at a loss, you might add, "I can't imagine what you're going through," or "I have no words."[1] X Research source Go to source

  • If you were also close to the person who died, it might feel awkward to say "your loss" since you lost the person as well. Instead, you might try something like, "I'm so sorry to hear that" or "That hurts so much to hear."
  • Addressing the person by name can make your condolences sound more personal and serious. For example, you might say, "Oh Sarah, I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what you're going through."

2 2 of 11:"I'm so sorry about your friend/family member."

Using the deceased person's name acknowledges and validates grief. Don't be afraid to say the deceased person's namehearing it won't hurt as much as not hearing it. What can hurt is feeling like someone they once loved can never be mentioned again. When you say the deceased person's name, you let your friend or loved one know that you remember that person and are open to talking about them.[2] X Trustworthy Source Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School's Educational Site for the Public Go to source

  • For example, you might say, "I was so sorry to hear about Megan. I know you two were close and I always admired your friendship."
  • If your friend lost a family member, you might use their relation rather than the person's name. This will usually feel more appropriate if you didn't know the person that well. For example, you might say, "I'm so sorry about your Aunt Jenny. Even though I never got to meet her, I know how close you were to her when you were growing up."

3 3 of 11:"Do you want to talk about it?"

People who are grieving often find it comforting to talk about the death. It might seem counter-intuitive, but a lot of people talk through the death as a way to process it. If the person died suddenly, talking about it can help someone grieving understand what happened.[3] X Research source Go to source

  • For example, you might say, "I'm sorry about CarterI know you were close. I'm here whenever you want to talk about them."

4 4 of 11:"I can't imagine how hard this is for you."

Allow the person to talk without judging or advising them. Everybody responds to a loss differently. If the loss was unexpected or sudden, the person is likely in shock and can't even really understand what's happening. A good way to be there for them is to serve as a sounding board and allow them to vent. Encourage them to talk more and let them know it's safe to talk to you, that you won't judge or criticize anything they say.[4] X Trustworthy Source HelpGuide Nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free, evidence-based mental health and wellness resources. Go to source

  • For example, suppose your friend keeps repeating the details leading up to the death of their roommate. You might say, "I know this is so hard to understand. They were just here a few days ago. Take all the time you need to talk through it."
  • Anger is also part of the grieving cycle, so your friend might go through periods of frustration at the person who died. Avoid correcting them or telling them not to be angrythis is a healthy part of the process. Just encourage them to let it out.

5 5 of 11:"Let me get dinner for you tonight."

Suggest something you can do to ease the person's burden. When someone's grieving, a lot of life's normal tasks can feel overwhelming. Offering to do these tasks is a concrete way to help. Try to think of something specific you can do rather than making a generic statement about how you're there if they need youit can be hard for someone who's grieving to ask for help.[5] X Trustworthy Source HelpGuide Nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free, evidence-based mental health and wellness resources. Go to source

  • For example, you might say, "I'm ordering you a pizza for dinner tonight. Just let me know when you want it delivered."
  • While providing food is often the easiest way to help out, it's also something a lot of other people do. You might also offer to come over and help clean up their house or do their laundrythings that are likely to fall by the wayside when someone is grieving.
  • If the person who texted you is going to be taking care of the arrangements, they'll have a lot to do in the days and weeks following the death. Let the person know if you have any experience handling such thingsthat can be an immense help.

6 6 of 11:"I can't help but think of my own friend's/family member's passing."

If you also lost someone close to you, tell them about your experience. This can be comforting because it shows them that it's possible to get past your grief and get on with your life. While everyone's grieving process is different, commiserating over a similar loss shows them that they're not alone.[6] X Research source Go to source

  • For example, you might say, "Hearing about John, I can't help but think of what it was like when my uncle died. He also had a sudden heart attack."
  • Be careful with your comparisons. Don't compare the loss of a person to the loss of a pet, even though you might've loved them dearlyit can send a very bad message.
  • Remember that even though you might know how it feels to lose someone you cared about, you can never know exactly how another person feels. Everyone's grieving process is different. Make sure they understand that by saying something like, "I can only imagine how you're feeling right now, but I know how I felt when my uncle died. Would you like to talk about it?"

7 7 of 11:"Would you like to do something later?"

Keep your plans flexible and don't pressure them. When someone's grieving, it can help them to get out of the house for a whilebut they're unlikely to take the initiative on their own. If you're going to be doing something fun, invite them to come along. Don't make it a big deal, and don't give them a hard time if they decline.[7] X Trustworthy Source Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School's Educational Site for the Public Go to source

  • For example, you might say, "Hey, Sarah and I are going out for ice cream later this evening if you'd like to come along? We can pick you up."
  • If they initially decline, you might say, "Okay, wellthe offer stands. Let us know if you change your mind." Then, you might text them again when you're headed out and say, "Heywe're going to get that ice cream. If you're still not feeling up to it, maybe we could bring you some."

8 8 of 11:"Just wanted you to know I'm thinking about you."

Even if the person doesn't respond much, keep checking in on them. Text the person at least every other day to see how they're doing. They might not respond to every message you send, but keep sending them anyway. This tells them that you haven't given up on them and that you're thinking about them.[8] X Research source Go to source

  • If you see a funny picture or video online that reminds you of them, you might share that as well. People who are grieving still enjoy having a laugh and it might be just the thing they need at that moment.
  • After a death, people are often very busy on top of grieving a loss. They might not have a lot of time to chit-chat with youeven if they want to. You might say, "Hey, I know you've got a million things going on, but I just wanted to let you know I'm thinking about you and I love you. I'm here whenever you need a moment to catch your breath."
  • Some people like to keep to themselves, though, and don't really feel like talking to anyone. If this is what's going on with your friend, you might say, "Hey, I know you don't feel like talking to anyone right now. I just want you to know I'm here whenever you do."

9 9 of 11:"Take all the time you need."

Let the person experience grief in their own way. You risk alienating your friend if you tell them that they should stop crying or that it's time to move on. Instead, tell them that it's okay for them to feel however they feel and that they shouldn't be ashamed of it.[9] X Trustworthy Source Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School's Educational Site for the Public Go to source

  • For example, you might say, "I know you were really close to Adam and I can't imagine what you're going through. Take your time."
  • It's just as likely that the person hasn't gotten to the point yet where they can finally let go. Telling them that they just need a good cry or need to get it out of their system isn't helpful. Instead, you might say, "Everyone heals at their own pace. I trust that you're doing what you need to do but if you need anything I'm here."

10 10 of 11:"Haven't heard from you in a while. How are you holding up?"

Show the person that you're still there for them and care for them. When someone dies, their loved ones are often inundated with texts, phone calls, and visits. But most people stop checking in a couple of weeks after the funeral. This is when the shock and rush of the initial death wear off and they start really feeling like they need someone.[10] X Research source Go to source

  • If you haven't heard from them in a while, make it a point to reach out. People who are grieving often want someone around but won't take the initiative. For example, you might say, "Hey, I haven't heard from you in a while. You wanna grab a cup of coffee and catch up?"
  • Don't be afraid to bring up the death. This lets them know that you're okay with them talking about it. For example, you might say, "I know you've had a rough time since your aunt died. How about we go see that new Marvel movie? My treat."
  • Make a note of specific special days, such as the birthday of the person who passed or any anniversaries. Grief will feel sharper and more profound on those days.[11] X Research source Go to source  Send your friend or loved one a text on those days, saying something like, "I know today is especially hard for you. Can I take you out for coffee?"

11 11 of 11:"Have you thought about talking to a therapist?"

A loss can sometimes lead to a more serious problem. In the immediate aftermath of a death, people who are grieving often feel confused, disconnected, angry, guilty, and sad. However, if these feelings intensify months after the death, the person might need to get help from a mental health professional. Here are some things to look out for:[12] X Trustworthy Source HelpGuide Nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free, evidence-based mental health and wellness resources. Go to source

  • Extreme focus on the death, to the exclusion of anything else
  • Neglecting personal hygiene
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Withdrawal from others, talk of numbness or inability to enjoy anything
  • Talking about suicide or their own death

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References

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/apr/15/15-ways-support-someone-grieving-recently-bereaved
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/ways-to-support-someone-who-is-grieving
  3. https://www.vox.com/first-person/2018/11/20/18104727/friendship-parents-death-grieving
  4. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief/helping-someone-who-is-grieving.htm#
  5. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief/helping-someone-who-is-grieving.htm#
  6. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/apr/15/15-ways-support-someone-grieving-recently-bereaved
  7. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/ways-to-support-someone-who-is-grieving
  8. https://www.cancercare.org/publications/67-how_to_help_someone_who_is_grieving
  9. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/ways-to-support-someone-who-is-grievingMore References (3)
  10. https://www.thecut.com/article/what-to-say-when-someone-dies.html
  11. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/apr/15/15-ways-support-someone-grieving-recently-bereaved
  12. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief/helping-someone-who-is-grieving.htm#

About This Article

Co-authored by: Jennifer Mueller, JD Doctor of Law, Indiana University This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD. Jennifer Mueller is a wikiHow Content Creator. She specializes in reviewing, fact-checking, and evaluating wikiHow's content to ensure thoroughness and accuracy. Jennifer holds a JD from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 2006.  This article has been viewed 34,465 times.   Co-authors:  8 Updated: October 13, 2021 Views:34,465 Categories: Texting

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