Is It Ok To Say I Am Sorry For Your Loss?
I admit that I use this phrase all the time, yet it sounds so canned, so overused, so trite. My heart, however, feels more than these words can convey. When I hear of someone’s loss, my stomach flips and a heaviness cloaks me.
For anyone who has experienced loss, it is easy to put yourself in the shoes of another and, within a few moments, revisit the emotions brought about by grief. “I’m sorry for your loss” doesn’t seem quite enough. It’s obligatory, and the use of “your” feels distancing, like one’s implying, “Good luck dealing with your loss on your own.”
But what else is there to say?
Suggested Alternate Ways to Say “I’m Sorry”
Try using these phrases instead:
“I’m here whenever you need me.”
These simple words show the bereaved that they are not alone in their grief. You will be there for them at the time of their choosing. It gives your friend or loved one space to grieve but, at the same time, they know you are holding space for them.
“I wish you comfort and peace.”
These words feel soothing and reassuring. The phrase makes me believe that one day everything will be okay again, and it feels good to have someone wishing you well.
“I’m thinking of you.”
Again, these words make one feel less alone. To know that you’re in others’ thoughts is comforting. It tells the bereaved, “I know you’re going through a rough time, and your situation is on my mind.”
“This must be very difficult.”
Recognizing someone’s pain is validating. It reveals they are not alone in their grief, and that their loss and feelings have been acknowledged.
“He/She was a wonderful person, and they will be missed.”
Knowing that your loved one touched not only your heart, but the hearts of others gives one a moment of happiness and peace. Once again, it feels less isolating when we grieve a loss together.
“I love you, and I’m here.”
If you know the person well enough, express your love for them. These are such powerful words that say, “You are incredibly important to me, and I have your back.” These words are hopeful and optimistic. When we feel loved and cared for, grief no longer seems insurmountable.
Suggested Read: How To Show Up For Someone Who Is Grieving
Most Importantly, Speak From Your Heart
I’ve been using “I’m sorry for your loss” for so long that I’m sure it will continue to slip out at times. I will, however, make a conscious effort to use other phrases of condolence. There is nothing worse than feeling alone and isolated, especially in times of grief.
Looking for other ways to comfort a friend during a difficult time? Read more thoughtful suggestions about ways you can support them.