What to say when a friend's mother or father dies
The death of a mother or father will likely be one of the most painful experiences someone goes through in their lifetime. Everyone’s loss will be due to different circumstances. Perhaps your friend's mother or father passes after struggling with a long-term illness or maybe their death was sudden and unexpected. Either way, your grieving friend and their family will welcome your words of comfort.
As humans, most of us are keenly aware of our own mortality and it stirs up vulnerability in many of us when faced with death. While we grapple with our own emotions it can leave even the most verbose at a loss for words. In an extreme state, avoidance may seem like the best solution because you just don’t know what you can do or say, but mustering up the courage to say something is best if possible.
There is no one statement or phrase that will be the right fit for any person or circumstance. Finding a way to convey feelings of support to your friend when their mother or father passes can be stressful. But like so much that guides us in our lives, speaking from the heart will take you to the right place to start.
<h2>When is the right time to offer condolences</h2>
It may be confusing to know when to reach out to offer your condolences. If you are attending the funeral or if you will attend a viewing, depending on their religious background, you will have an opportunity to offer your kind words at the cemetery or a memorial chapel. If those opportunities do not present themselves, it is best to avoid using social media platforms and reach out to the family directly.
Go-to phrases like “Our thoughts and prayers are with you” or “I am sorry for you loss” are appropriate. There are ultimately no “right” words but it is good to offer some words of comfort and acknowledge their emotions and let the person know that you are there to support them while they are suffering. Speak from your heart, offer your time and show kindness and support where you can.
<h2>Sending a sympathy card</h2>
Kindness and support can take many forms. If you knew the mother or father, include a special memory of them in the card. It’s also a beautiful gesture to send a bouquet of flowers if that is appropriate in that culture or religion. Sending a meal to the family to help ease the burden of everyday life is very thoughtful as well.
You can also reach out via text or phone and offer to take a walk or even a video chat if it isn’t possible to be together. Here are some helpful suggestions of words to share with someone mourning a parent or experiencing any loss at all.
1. I am sorry for your loss.
2. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
3. Please accept my condolences I know your mom/dad was very dear to you and your family.
4. If you need anything please let me know but I will check in on you in a few days.
5. Share your favorite memory of him or her.
Letting your friend know you are there now, and in the future, can be a tremendous comfort to them as they go through this challenging time.