We search for just the right thing to say to someone who has lost a loved one, and often fumble over our own words. Here are a few pointers to help you with words that won't be hurtful.

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Father took his daughter fishing.

What to Say to Kids

Don't say: He went to sleep.

Say instead: He died.

Don't say: She got sick.

Say instead: She died. She died because ______.

Don't say: Grandpa went on a long trip.

Say instead: Grandpa died and we won’t be able to see him anymore.

Don't say: You’re the man of the house now.

Say instead: You’re going to have to help out more with some of your dad’s chores.

What to Say to Everyone

Don't say: Think of all your memories.

Say instead: I know memories aren’t the same as having her here, but I hope they will give you some comfort.

Don't say: You’ve got to get hold of yourself.

Say instead: It must be so hard to keep going when you’re hurting so much.

Don't say: Time will heal.

Say instead: You must feel as if this pain will never end.

Don't say: Be strong!

Say instead: Take all the time you need.

Don't say: It’s time to put it behind you.

Say instead: You must miss your loved one and the life you had together.

Don't say: You must be strong for your children.

Say instead: Why not share some of your feelings with your children? Perhaps you can support each other now.

Don't say: Life will go on.

Say instead: Life has dealt you a terrible blow. I am sure it will be hard for you in the coming months to live with it.

Don't say: Call me if you need something.

Say instead: Let’s schedule a time right now that we can see each other.

Don't say: You need to ______________.

Say instead: What would be helpful for you right now?

Don't say: She is in a better place.

Say instead: Do you wonder where they are at right now?

Don't say: You should be over this by now.

Say instead: I know it will take a while for you to feel better. You do not have to hurry this process for anyone.

Don't say: Count your blessings.

Say instead: Remember that grief is necessary and you need time to grieve and heal.

Don't say: It is a blessing.

Say instead: I am sorry this ever had to happen and that she/he had to suffer so much.

Don't say: God never gives us more than we can handle.

Say instead: This must seem like more hurt than you can bear.

Don't say: It is God’s will.

Say instead: Some things that happen are tragic, and make no sense.