Respectful Ways to Show Sympathy and Express Sorrow

Losing a loved one is never easy. When someone you love dies, it feels like a piece of you has died as well. If someone in your life is going through a difficult and unimaginable loss right now, there are a variety of ways you can respectfully show you care and express your sympathy.

Send a Sympathy Card

Whether your loved one lives down the street or across the country, sending a sympathy card is a great way to show you care. A sympathy card can let the grieving individual know that you are thinking about and understand the magnitude of their loss. Adding a note straight from the heart can further personalize the card to show your care and concern.

Sympathy cards provide the loved ones of the deceased something they can look back at over the years to see just how loved they are. If you have any happy memories to share about the person who passed away, writing one in the card may help make the difficult time of grieving a little easier and could bring a smile to your loved one’s face when they look back at the card.

As an alternative to sending a tangible card, consider virtual sympathy card options. This will still allow you to express your heartfelt condolences and will let the bereaved know that you care and are thinking about them. The truth is a virtual sympathy card is just as respectful and touching as a traditional one.

Choose Your Words Carefully

Dealing with loss is not easy. It can be made even more difficult if insensitive or hurtful comments are made, even unintentionally. When you are speaking to someone who has just experienced a loss, you will want to be very careful with what you say. Sharing how much you miss the deceased, what a wonderful person they were, a happy memory about them, or just telling the grieving person that you love and care for them are all appropriate things to say.

You will want to avoid comments that may make a person feel added pain or stress. These can include saying that you know how the person is feeling, saying that at least the death was quick, or telling them that they’ll feel better soon.

Show Respect with Your Attire

When attending a funeral or memorial service, how you dress can be seen as a sign of respect or lack thereof. First, check on the information about the service to see if the family has shared any recommendations. If not, dress more conservatively and don’t wear any bright colors. Choose pieces that are darker in color, like a black dress or black suit. If you’re going to wear jewelry, only wear a few simple pieces.

Make a Donation in Honor of the Deceased

Making a donation in someone’s name is another way you can show your sympathy. If the person died from a specific disease, you could make a contribution to an organization researching and raising funds to find a cure for that disease. Another alternative to consider is donating to an organization that the deceased supported or was active in throughout their life.

Just Be There for Them

Finally, just let your friend or loved one know that you are there for them. Sit with them and let them share memories of their loved one, cry, plan the services, or whatever they need at the moment. Many people could also benefit from some time away from all the stress associated with a funeral and dealing with family, so you could offer to take them out for a quiet dinner to give them a break from all of the emotional stress they’re going through.

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