What to say to someone who lost a loved one

When someone has passed away, it can be really challenging to find the right words to say. You want to say uplifting, kind things and you certainly don’t want to talk about anything too raw that will tear their emotions to shreds and make the person start crying right in front of you.

When dealing with a death, emotions come in waves, people can be OK one minute and then overwhelmed with grief and sadness the next. People are just trying to hold it together, some folks might feel like that can’t even go on, so the last thing that they want to do is burst out crying in a public space.

A friend of mine, Pippa, lost a dear pet, a dog that she had for seven years who helped her through some really tough times. She was on the bus going to work and listened to a song that reminded her of her dog made her start sobbing. Pippa felt so embarrassed shedding tears in public on the way to work, and not being able to hold it together.


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Losing a pet can be so painful because you often spend more time with your pet than you do with most people in your life. She shared that she appreciated hearing positive memories of her dog.

Sharing happy positive memories of a loved is always a great thing to do. Saying how much someone will be missed and sharing a happy memory won’t send someone over the edge.

Ten things you can say to someone who has lost a loved one

1. We sure are going to miss Jason and all the joy and laughter he brought to all of us. If there is anything we can do to lighten your load please let us know. We will be dropping off dinner for you one night next week.

2. I am sad to hear about Sally’s passing. If you ever feel like talking I am here to listen.

3. Dazza touched so many lives. His legacy will live on and we all cherish the time that we got to spend with him. I am grateful to have been one of his good friends for 20 years.

4. If you ever want to talk about your Dad please don’t hesitate to call. Your father was one of my favourite people and I am always happy to reminisce about all the fun times that we shared together.

5. Ginger was such a truly remarkable giving person. I admire how she always lived her life with such grace and dignity. She is an example of a life well-lived.

6. Your mom always brought joy to everyone around her. I will always remember the time she X.

7. You must have so many wonderful memories of your time together. I am sure that will help comfort you through these difficult days.

8. The loss of such an amazing person is really challenging. Sadie was a truly lovely, kind and wonderful person.

9. Kelly will be missed by so many people. He always brought the fun to whoever he was with and a smile to everyone’s face. Words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss.

10. John brought so much joy to everyone around him. He will be missed by many.

What to say in difficult situations

The Role of counselling and self care

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When you are dealing with a person who has lost someone they love it can be stressful, consider getting support from a professional. Talking to a counsellor is a great way to work through a challenging situation, and help you find some strategies to work through the person’s behaviour.

Better Help is a great resource where you can talk to a counselor from the comfort of your own home. 

Taking care of your own needs isn’t selfish, and you will feel better in the long run.

Got any comments, questions or tips for dealing with an obnoxious person? Share them in the comments below.

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