What to Say if Lost a Child to a Drug Overdose: 25+ Ideas


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Losing a child is one of the worst things anyone can experience. Losing a child to a drug overdose is heartbreaking, and it’s hard to find the right sympathy messages for the loss of a child to soothe this hurt. 

A simple “I’m sorry for your loss” doesn’t seem to cover any of the pain of losing your own children. With this in mind, where do you begin? If the child was young and otherwise healthy, this loss is devastating and painful. 

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It’s essential to recognize that you can never eliminate this pain. The parent will likely carry this grief for their entire life. That being said, losing a loved one to an overdose is an isolating experience. Being there for someone in need helps them feel supported in a time of crisis. 

What should you say to someone who lost their child to a drug overdose? These 20+ messages below help them feel heard and supported, even if you’re not sure how else you can help. 

Tip: A parent who lost a child is likely sorting through the life that child left behind. Our post-loss checklist can help them through that painful process. 

» MORE: Online obituary that is 100% free. Honor a loved one beyond a newspaper.

Text Messages or DMs to Send to Someone Who Lost a Child to a Drug Overdose

While calling or being there in person is a good way to show someone you care, sometimes a text or DM is the fastest way to make contact. If you don’t know the person very well, sending a text or DM shows them that you’re thinking of them. 

1. “I’m sorry you’re going through this.” 

Saying “I’m sorry for your loss” doesn’t breach the surface, so this is a much better way of phrasing it. You can’t possibly understand how the parent feels, so just let them know you’re sorry that this is an experience they’re going through. 

2. “[Name] was a wonderful, kind person. I am better for having known them.” 

If you knew the deceased in any way, honor their memory by sharing something you loved about them. Parents who lost a child to an overdose worry that their child won’t be remembered for who they were.

3. “I’m so sorry. Please let me know if there’s anything you need.” 

Sorry isn’t often enough, but we can always use this as an opportunity to show support. Offer to help the parent or just lend a listening ear. 

4. “As a parent myself, I think what you’re going through must be so difficult.” 

Offering sympathy from a parent’s perspective, if you’re a parent yourself, helps the loved one feel understood. All parents can understand just how this might feel if they were in the bereaved shoes. 

5. “I’m thinking and praying for you during this difficult time.” 

Sometimes less really is more. Offering to keep the parent in your thoughts or prayers is sometimes the best thing you can do, but it’s still an effective way to show support. 

6. “I’m so shocked and saddened by your loss.”

Again, less is often more. If you’re not sure what to say, it’s okay to simply say this loss is something that shocked and saddened you. The family doesn’t want to hear this loss downplayed. 

7. “I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I care for you deeply.” 

Last but not least, remind the parent that you’re sorry for their loss and that you care for them. As mentioned before, losing a child is an isolating experience. Make sure the parent knows they are not alone. 

What to Write in a Short Letter or Card to Someone Who Lost Their Child to a Drug Overdose

Writing a letter or card to the bereaved parents after they lose their child is another way to show your support. When paired with gifts for grieving friends, these can be a source of comfort and strength in the darkest of days. Include one of these messages below to show support. 

8. “I’m always here for you.” 

Again, a short and sweet show of strength is a powerful message. Finding the right words is hard. Being there for someone is hard. If you can be there and show support, you’re doing the right thing. 

9. “I can’t stop thinking about you and your family.”  

After a tragic loss, the family wants to feel remembered and heard. Remind them that they’re never really alone by telling them just how much you’re thinking of them. 

10. “Words are pointless right now, and nothing can take away what you’re feeling, but I’m sending all of my love.” 

It’s sometimes hard to grapple with traditional sympathy messages, especially after such a devastating loss. It’s okay to acknowledge that these messages fall flat sometimes. 

11. “I will always remember [child’s name]. Thinking of you.” 

When a parent loses their child, it’s like that person is gone forever. Someone who was at the center of their world is suddenly gone. Honoring their legacy by telling the parent you’ll always remember their child means the world to them. 

12. “My heart breaks for you and your family during this time.” 

Being sympathetic is sometimes the most you can do. Honor their pain and listen to it, even if it’s uncomfortable. 

13. “Our thoughts are with you now and forever. Wishing you so much strength.” 

Sometimes what the parent needs to hear most is that they’re strong enough to get through this. It feels like the world is ending in front of their eyes, and being there matters more than you think. 

14. “Whenever you want to talk about them, I’ll be there.” 

Parents often have a hard time talking about their child after a passing, especially in the case of a drug overdose. Let the parent know that you’ll be that listening ear when they’re ready.

» MORE: Grief can be lonely. Create space for your community to share memories and tributes with a free online memorial from Cake.

What to Say In-Person or on the Phone to Someone Who Lost a Child to a Drug Overdose

Knowing how to comfort someone who’s crying or what to say when someone experienced a loss over the phone or in-person is never easy. The truth is there is no “perfect” thing you can say to make their pain go away. However, these messages are a form of support and comfort.

15. “There are no words to take away your pain. I am thinking of you.”

Parents will hear time and time again that time will heal their grief, but they know that’s not true. It’s okay to acknowledge that words cannot take this pain away. 

16. “[Name] was such a kind, caring person. I will always remember [memory].”

When the parent is ready, share a happy, uplifting memory you have with their child. These memories form someone’s legacy, and these are what we should remember the most. 

17. “This loss is terrible news. I hope you find strength in knowing that you were an amazing parent, and they spent all of their days loved.”

After a loss like this, your loved one likely is feeling doubts about their parenting and whether they could have done anything differently. Assure them that their child knew they were loved and that they did everything they could.

18. “I am so sorry. Please know that you’re not alone, and we stand with you in this sadness.”

Remind your loved one that this is not a burden they have to carry alone. Everyone comes together to help them find the strength they need. 

19. “I’m always here for you. Let me know when you’re ready to talk.”

Simple can sometimes be best, especially if you’re not sure what to say. Telling them that you’re always there to talk makes them feel a bit less lonely. 

20. “I’m at a loss for words.” 

Finally, sometimes it’s best to say nothing at all. Just being there for the one you love is sometimes the best thing you can do.

Other Things You Can Do to Comfort a Loved One Who Lost Their Child to a Drug Overdose

There are a lot of practical and supportive actions you can take after a loved one loses their child to a drug overdose. It’s our actions that often speak louder than words. 

21. Listen to them

Losing someone to a drug overdose is a heavy, challenging experience. Many people don’t know how to hear about this in a supportive way, and they might find it uncomfortable. Be the person who can listen to and support the parent through this time. 

22. Cook a meal

Food brings people together, especially after a loss. If you don’t know what else to say, cook a meal for someone after a loss. Making sure they have a warm meal in those first few days makes all the difference. 

23. Make a donation

Making a donation in honor of the deceased helps turn the tragedy of a loss into something good. While this can’t ease the parent’s pain, it can help another parent escape this same experience. Donating to a support group, organization, or nonprofit is very meaningful. 

24. Send flowers

Another common, thoughtful sympathy gift is to send flowers. These serve as a reminder of life in a time when the world seems like a darker place. 

25. Share memories

Last but not least, don’t be afraid to share memories of the deceased with the parent. While you should wait until they’re ready to take this step, they’ll likely be thankful to know that their son or daughter is remembered in such a positive light. 

» MORE: An online memorial is a perfect ending to honor and celebrate someone's life. Create one for free.

Being There for a Parent in Need

If you know someone who lost a child to a drug overdose, it’s hard to know what to do next. Finding the right words to sum up the pain and loss is usually impossible. There’s nothing you can say or do to take away their pain. 

However, by being there in this tragic time, you give them more support than you know. Your condolences mean more than you think. It’s important to always be there for parents in need, especially when times are tough. 

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