When someone you know is grieving the loss of a loved one, it can be difficult to find the right words to say.
When offering support, it’s common to use phrases like, “I’m sorry for your loss.” But, the message can lack meaning after it’s said so many times.
While there isn’t one perfect response, sharing your sympathy in a memorable way—like using a quote the bereaved can lean on during intense periods of grief—can have a comforting effect.
So whether you’re sending a card or preparing for the service, here are six sympathy quotes to comfort the bereaved.
1. “Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality.” —Emily Dickinson
This is a powerful message to send to someone who is grieving, reassuring him or her that the love they have for the deceased will last forever. Although their loved one is no longer physically present, their life and legacy continues to live on through surviving family members and friends.
2. “What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” —Helen Keller
Share this quote to reinforce to your grieving loved one that the person who has passed won’t be forgotten. Encourage the bereaved to find new ways to commemorate their loved one, reminding him or her of the positive impact they had on their life. This helps them feel connected to the life lost even after they’re gone.
3. “After you have wept and grieved for your physical losses, cherish the functions and life you have left.” —Morrie Schwartz
This quote may bring comfort for someone going through an exceptionally hard time. As their friend or family member, remind them that the best way to honor the deceased is to live life to the fullest. While it may be intimidating at first, trying new things can open their eyes to unexplored passions and possibilities, which can help ease the pain of grief.
4. “We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.”—Kenji Miyazawa, Positively Positive
Moving on after a loss is not easy. But, in time, it’s possible to let go of the past and to move on toward the future. Too often people think moving on means forgetting, but that’s simply not true. Use this quote as motivation for your friend or family member to carry on the wishes and dreams of the deceased in their honor.
5. “Say not in grief that they are gone, but give thanks that they were yours.”—Hebrew Proverb, Memorial Prayer Cards
Death gives meaning to our existence because it reminds us how precious life is. Encourage someone who is grieving to have a thankful heart for having known the one they lost—even if they’ve passed too soon. Remind them of all the memories they have with their loved one to help in the healing process.
6. “Don’t be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.” —Richard Bach
This is a comforting quote for a friend or family member who is religious. It reassures them that this goodbye is temporary and someday they may see their loved one again. In the meantime, they’re looking down on them.
Regardless of what you decide to say to someone who is grieving, be sure it holds meaning. Sharing these quotes lets the bereaved know you care, and that you’re thinking of them during this difficult time.
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If you or someone you know has recently lost a loved one, it’s important to remember there’s an entire network of resources available—both online and offline. To help guide you through your grief journey, we encourage you to sign up for our weekly newsletter, A Journey Towards Healing. When you subscribe, you’ll receive weekly emails of encouragement across an entire year of your grief experience.