How do you comfort a friend who has lost a child? When a friend is grieving, many wonder what they should say and do to bring comfort to their friend in their time of loss.
Dear Dr. B,
A friend of mine just lost a child and I don’t know what to say. I don’t want to say the wrong thing, so instead I don’t say anything. What would you do?
Lost and Silent
I can appreciate that you don’t know what to say and don’t want to say the wrong thing. Unfortunately, for those who are grieving, silence can be misinterpreted as a lack of concern.
I’d encourage you to speak from your heart. Be genuine in whatever you say—it does more damage than good to say you’ll be there whenever they need you or you’ll do whatever they need if they then ask something of you and you decline.
What do you say to a friend who has lost a child?
Here are some things you are likely to be feeling that I’d encourage you to share with your friend:
- I love you
- I’m so very sorry you’re going through this
- I wish I could take away your pain
- I’m so sad for you
- I’m praying for you
These are the kinds of words that bring comfort to grieving friends.
What can you do to comfort a friend who has lost a child?
In such a time of loss, few words bring true comfort. Sometimes actions bring more comfort:
- Holding their hand
- Giving an extended hug
- Sitting with them while they cry
- Taking a walk with them
- Praying with them and for them
- Physical deeds such as filling their car with gas, doing their laundry, caring for their other children for short spurts, transporting their other children to or from school, cleaning up the dishes or returning dishes after meals have been brought
Everyone grieves in their own way
Remember that everyone grieves in his/her own way, and there is not a specific time limit on grieving. Grieving doesn’t end with the funeral—that’s often when deeper pain and loneliness set in, as others return to “normal life,” while those who are grieving are left to find an unwanted but “new normal.”
Anniversaries of a death, birthdays, mother’s/father’s day, and other holidays bring up painful reminders. Consider calling them or sending a card on such days so they don’t feel alone or forgotten.
Continue to comfort beyond when you see outward signs that they need it.
Thankfully, we have a Heavenly Father who is well acquainted with our grief.
“He was despised and rejected–a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief” (Isaiah 53:3).
What ways have you found to either comfort others or be of comfort to yourself?
Every day can be a good day when you trust the promises of God.
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I find comfort in God’s word. His promises are clear and consoling. ‘The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’ Psalm 34:18
I too find comfort in God’s word. I am thankful that He is close to the brokenhearted and saves us when we are crushed in spirit. Thank you for that beautiful and comforting reminder!
What a comforting post! I’m visiting from #ThursdayTheologyBlogs.
Thanks so much!
(I also tweeted your automated tweets – great stuff!)
Thank you for visiting Angie. I hope you’ll remember this post and the comforting suggestions I tried to offer in case you ever have opportunity to minister to someone in need. Blessings to you!
Thank you so much for sharing with #ThursdayTheologyBLogs! I have tweeted and stumbled your post!
Thanks for stopping by Carrie Ann! I pray this information is useful to those who find it.
I recently met a lady whose daughter was tragically murdered while serving as a student missionary on a small island. She said that the worst thing that a person can do is to ignore the elephant in the room–it’s ok if people ask her about her daughter–she wants to share Kirsten’s story and it makes her sad when people just ignore the beautiful life that her daughter lived for 21 short years.
You make a very good point Anita. Ignoring the loss only makes the wound greater. Thanks for sharing that!
You are so right when you state that silence can be misinterpreted and it’s the same for those with catastrophically ill children as well! Say something – acknowledge the pain, preferably without advice! 🙂
Carol, you mentioned a very good point: it’s important to say something but preferably without advice. Grief doesn’t need advice, it needs comfort and support! Thanks for that reminder.
What a great post on grieving in general. I always struggle with knowing what to say and honestly, when I’m in the grieving shoes, always wonder what I even want to hear the most. These are wonderful. Thanks so much for linking up at MeetUp Monday, and hope to see you again next week!
Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement Amanda! Hope Prevails!
Thank you for sharing this – I lost my only son years ago but still love when others mention his name and their memories of him. I know initially no one spoke of him so as to try and not upset me. That actually made me feel so far away and alone in my grief.. and I ended up worrying about making them feel uncomfortable. Talk about their loved one with the grieving parent and savor the memories. Also, let the mom or dad know they were a wonderful parent. Blessings to all parents who have walked this path.. it is the hardest journey but God wastes nothing – not even our broken hearts.
Michelle, thank you for this. Our daughter is alive but has refused contact for 10 years. This is especially hard because as we continue to grieve it often feels like people blame us. We have never stopped loving her and would welcome her back at any time. Thanks for helping those of us who grieve. Blessings to you!
Deb, I am so sorry for your painful situation, and your daughter’s choice. As a mother, I know that must be heart-wrenching. I can see where you might be the object of others’ blame-not because of anything you did, but because of how our enemy, the accuser of the brethren, twists and lies and manipulates to cause dissension. I know that our Heavenly Father is pleased that despite the outward circumstances, you choose to count your blessings. I will be praying for you and your daughter, and that as you have trained her up in the way she should go, she will come back to that and to you. Because of Him, Hope Prevails, my friend!
I have not lost a child but have had some of our spiritually adopted children who used to follow the Lord go off into the new age or other beliefs that are contrary to the Word of God! It grieves our heart the same as if they had died. Thank you for sharing this so much because truly they are lost and floundering out in the world when all along there is so much love ready and available for them. I will pray believing and expecting them to come home to Jesus and allow Him to transform their lives. Thank you so much for this message!!! Because we know the Lord is able to continue to draw them to His throne we are able to comfort others with the same comfort He has given us. We release our children into His presence trusting Him to care for them. Only He can fix this whole situation but it us up to us to love unconditionally and pray unceasingly. We share much of what you have shared with others when they face a lost child. Love and appreciate you SO MUCH!!!