When someone you know loses a loved one unexpectedly, you might not know what to say when someone dies. Luckily, most people don’t expect you to always say the perfect thing, in exactly the right words. Nearly everyone understands how difficult it can be to offer your condolences in a way that’s helpful and sincere.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What to Say to Close or Friends or Family When a Loved One Dies Unexpectedly
- What You Can Say to Acquaintances or Colleagues When a Loved One Dies Unexpectedly
- What You Can Say on Social Media When Someone Dies Unexpectedly
Still, reaching out and sharing your sympathies is almost always appreciated. And whether you’re trying to support a close friend or family member or an acquaintance, finding the right words is never easy.
If you need some ideas to get you started, the messages included below might help.
What to Say to Close or Friends or Family When a Loved One Dies Unexpectedly
If your friend or loved one just lost someone unexpectedly, your words of support can go a long way. A simple, sincere message is often enough. Here’s some inspiration if you’re not sure what to say when someone dies.
- "This must be so hard. I'm so sorry for your loss."
- "I'm just a call or text away, anytime."
- "You shouldn't have to cook for yourself in times like this."
- "I thought you could use some self-care."
- "I can't believe this is happening, but we'll get through it together."
- "You're so much stronger than you even know."
1. “This must be so hard. I’m so sorry for your loss.”
Rather than saying, “I know how you feel,” you can let your friend or family member know that you’re thinking about what they might be feeling.
After all, you can’t know exactly how another person feels about their loss. Instead of assuming, you can open the door for your friend or family member to let you know what they’re going through.
2. “I’m just a call or text away, anytime.”
Knowing that they can call or get in touch with you any time can help your loved one feel less alone. Just make sure that, if you share this sentiment, you’re prepared to pick up the phone if they call. It’s no good making the offer if you can’t follow through.
3. “You shouldn’t have to cook for yourself in times like this.”
When you’re grieving, it can be difficult to work up the energy to cook dinner (and clean up afterward). You can help with that by giving your friend or family member a pre-made meal or a gift card for delivery. Choose their favorite meal or their favorite delivery restaurant.
4. “I thought you could use some self-care.”
In addition to meal prep, taking the time out for self-care can be challenging during times of grief and loss. You can give your friend or loved one some time for themselves with a spa gift card, or buy them some scented candles and bubble bath.
5. “I can’t believe this is happening, but we’ll get through it together.”
You can let your friend or family member know that they’re not alone in dealing with this unexpected and difficult situation. If they need someone to lean on or vent to, you’re there.
6. “You’re so much stronger than you even know.”
When something so unexpected and tragic occurs, it can feel like the world is coming to an end. You can help with that by reminding your friend or loved one that they’re strong, and they’ll get through this.
What You Can Say to Acquaintances or Colleagues When a Loved One Dies Unexpectedly
Even if you don’t know someone exceptionally well, you might want to offer your sympathies for someone’s unexpected loss. Here are some ideas of what to say when someone your acquaintance or colleague loved dies:
- "Take all the time you need."
- "Everyone wanted to often their condolences and support."
- "We miss you, and we can't wait until you're back."
- "Please accept these flowers as our sincere condolences."
- "Here are some treats that I hope can help."
7. “Take all the time you need.”
If you’re in a position where you can give the person more time to take care of urgent matters and grieve, that can be immeasurably valuable. Some workplaces even allow coworkers to gift their time off to their colleagues when an unexpected tragedy takes place.
8. “Everyone wanted to often their condolences and support.”
You can get everyone at work together to sign a condolence card or sympathy note. Have each person write a sincere message along with signing their name. You can also ask everyone to pitch in for a gift card or basket.
9. “We miss you, and we can’t wait until you’re back.”
When an unexpected death occurs, the person often needs to take time off to plan and attend the funeral, as well as take care of other matters. You can let them know that their absence hasn’t gone unnoticed at work and that everyone looks forward to having them back.
10. “Please accept these flowers as our sincere condolences.”
Flowers are a traditional way to convey sympathy and condolences. You can send your coworker or acquaintance flowers on your own, or you can team up with others for a larger bouquet. Make sure to write and sign a sincere sympathy note for your flowers, too.
11. “Here are some treats that I hope can help.”
Instead of flowers, you might consider sending a gift basket that contains some soul-healing treats. You can find pre-made baskets made up of chocolates and other sweets, or baskets filled with home spa and self-care supplies. You can also put together your own gift basket that includes specific items you know the person enjoys.
What You Can Say on Social Media When Someone Dies Unexpectedly
You may not always be able to give words of support in person. Sometimes, you might choose to share your condolences over social media instead. When you do, it’s important to choose your message carefully.
Here are some examples of what you can say on social media to someone who is going through an unexpected loss:
- "Sometimes, life doesn't make any sense. I hope you can find peace."
- "I was so saddened at the news, and I can't believe (name of deceased) is truly gone."
- "(Name of the deceased) is gone but not forgotten."
- "Our family is so sorry for your loss, and you're in our thoughts."
- "The world lost an amazing person far too soon."
- "It's hard to find the words to express how sorry I am for your loss."
12. “Sometimes, life doesn’t make any sense. I hope you can find peace.”
An unexpected death can make someone feel like nothing makes sense anymore. Knowing that others understand that feeling might help your friend, family member, or acquaintance feel understood and validated.
13. “I was so saddened at the news, and I can’t believe (name of deceased) is truly gone.”
You can use a simple message like this to let your family member, friend, or loved one know how much the loss has saddened you and how much you’ll miss the deceased.
14. “(Name of the deceased) is gone but not forgotten.”
After a sudden or unexpected death, it can feel like people only care for a short period of time. After a number of days, weeks, or months, it may seem like everyone’s moved on and forgotten.
You can help a loved one feel less alone in their grief and reassured that the departed with always be remembered with this type of message on social media.
15. “Our family is so sorry for your loss, and you’re in our thoughts.”
Sometimes, a simple, “Sorry for your loss,” is enough to make a person feel loved and supported. But you can add to that by letting your loved one know that your whole family is thinking about them, too.
16. “The world lost an amazing person far too soon.”
It’s important to offer your condolences and sympathies to the people mourning a sudden loss. But sometimes, the best way to do that is by speaking sincerely about the deceased themselves. You can share a statement like this or a more personal memory that means something to you.
17. “It’s hard to find the words to express how sorry I am for your loss.”
If you’re still not sure exactly what to say when someone dies suddenly, you might choose to express that sentiment in your social media message. Everyone understands how hard it can be to find the words to reflect precisely how you’re feeling.
And letting your grieving friend or family member know that you’re thinking about them and their loss is often enough. Sharing that you’re not sure what to say, in the end, is better than saying nothing at all.
Helping a Loved One Cope with Loss
Just offering a few, heartfelt words of support to someone who’s going through an unexpected loss can help a lot. Grief often causes feelings of isolation and loneliness and having your company and love can help your friend or family member feel less alone.
And whether you gain inspiration from the messages above or not, the best thing you can do is speak from the heart.