It’s hard to know what to say to someone who has had the worst day of their lives. You may hear yourself offering condolences to a friend who lost a husband, but the words may not feel powerful enough for the situation.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What to Text Someone Who Lost Their Husband
- What to Say to Someone Who Lost Their Husband
- What to Say to Someone Who Lost Their Husband on Social Media
- What to Say to Someone Who Lost Their Husband After a Long Illness
So what do you say to someone who recently lost a husband? How does the message change if you send it through text or social media instead of face-to-face? Here are some ideas to use for both scenarios. Some of these messages can even be adjusted to add to sympathy flowers or a post on an online memorial page. We’ll also give you some guidance on what to say if the husband suffered from a long illness.
Tip: If you'd like to lend some practical support to someone grieving the loss of a husband, our post-loss checklist can help.
What to Text Someone Who Lost Their Husband
Even though it may feel strange to text someone sympathy messages, many prefer this form of communication. Your friend may not be physically able to talk on the phone while grieving the loss, and they may prefer to respond to a text instead of talking on the phone.
Also, you may have heard the news initially from a text. It may have been the quickest form of communication that your friend had to spread the bad news. Here are some ways to respond to that message.
1. “I am so sorry to hear this. My heart breaks for you.”
When talking about death, some people turn to a formal way of speaking. But you don’t have to use words like “condolences,” especially when you are comforting a grieving friend via text. You may consider merely speaking from the heart.
2. “Please know that I’m here for you.”
A person who loses a spouse may suddenly have a difficult time making decisions. Let your friend know that you are available to help plan the in-person or virtual funeral service, run errands, or pick up relatives from the airport.
3. “I heard the news about Mike. I can’t even begin to understand what you are feeling, but I wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you.”
Don’t be afraid to use the deceased’s name in your text. Your friend will probably want to hear people talk about the person who passed away as often as possible.
4. “I’m so sorry to hear about Bob. The 4th of July won’t be the same without his firework displays. He was loved by all, and we will miss him so much.”
Consider sharing specifics about the deceased. People like to know that their loved ones will be remembered.
5. “Please accept my condolences on the passing of your partner Juan. He was a thoughtful man with a wonderful spirit.”
People like to hear kind things about the person they loved. Even if you didn’t know the man well, you might try to think of something thoughtful to say about him.
6. “We were all shocked to hear about Mitch. Everyone in the office sends their love. Don’t even think about work for a while. We have everything covered.”
It’s important for co-workers to reassure grieving employees so they can focus on family during these rough times.
7. “Thinking of you.”
A quick text that doesn’t require a response may be the best thing you can do for your friend.
What to Say to Someone Who Lost Their Husband
Some people dread going to visitations and funerals because they don’t know what to say to the deceased’s family. You may worry that your own emotions will overpower you. Or you may worry about saying something too heartfelt that will make the family members cry.
Here are some ideas for what to say to a person who is grieving the loss of a husband.
8. “I’m so sorry for your loss.”
This statement may sound a bit overused, but it clearly and concisely states how you are feeling. That said, you may consider alternatives to the ubiquitous, “I’m sorry for your loss.”
9. “I’m so sorry this has happened.”
When speaking face-to-face with someone, you may feel strange using the word “death.” Here is a simple way to talk about what happened without having to use harsh-sounding words.
10. “I know that you must be exhausted. Be kind to yourself.”
Do you think that your friend needs a reminder to eat, sleep, and slow down for a bit? There are many details to consider when planning a funeral, and some people don’t take care of themselves during those difficult hours.
11. “Is it ok if I bring dinner to you tomorrow night?”
Instead of asking how you can help, suggest something and a specific time to do it.
12. “I thought a great deal of Sam. He had a great sense of humor and always had a good joke to share.”
Share a specific compliment or memory of the deceased. In the above example, consider telling the joke.
13. “I don’t know what to say.”
It’s common to be tongue-tied when facing someone with devastating news. Admit it if you don’t know what to say.
14. “I love you.”
It won’t “be all right.” And your friend will not “get over the loss.” Grief changes you forever. Sometimes all you can do is to remind people that they are loved.
What to Say to Someone Who Lost Their Husband on Social Media
Do you need to share a sympathy message on a person’s social media post? Here are some things to write other than “thoughts and prayers.”
Although most people only write one line, consider sharing specific memories of the person. This may inspire other people who see your post to do this as well.
15. “The love that you and Tony shared was an inspiration to us all. Thinking of you.”
Of course, only share this if the couple seemed to have a close bond. This would not be appropriate for a couple who had a long, volatile relationship.
16. “Please accept my condolences on the loss of Stu. He was a wonderful man.”
People tend to be a little more formal when writing messages of sympathy instead of speaking them.
17. “I’m praying for comfort for your entire family.”
If you say you are praying, then follow up on your promise.
18. “My heart goes out to you at the loss of your wonderful husband.”
Tell the person in mourning that you care that they are suffering.
19. “It was an honor to know Seth. He will be missed by many.”
As you can see, your social media message doesn’t have to be long or elaborate.
20. “I’m sorry I never had the opportunity to meet Chet, but I know how much you loved and admired your husband. Please know that I am thinking of you during this difficult time.”
Have you never met the deceased? Here’s a way to handle that when posting on social media.
21. “Although we have never met, I worked with Tom for over 20 years. He was admired by everyone in the office and will be missed.”
Perhaps you never met the surviving spouse. This post is a way to handle that unique situation.
What to Say to Someone Who Lost Their Husband After a Long Illness
It is never easy to lose a loved one, regardless of whether he suffered from an extended illness or was taken quickly due to an accident.
Here are some sympathy messages for someone who lost their husband after a long illness. The most important thing to remember in this situation is not to imply that the person is relieved by the death of their loved one.
22. “No one could have cared for George better than you did. I am so sorry for your loss.”
Was the spouse the full-time caregiver for the person who died? Consider mentioning this when offering your sympathies, especially if you witnessed the care first-hand.
23. “I heard that your husband’s painful struggle has ended. Please know that I am praying for peace and comfort for your entire family.”
You can mention that the struggle has ended without saying anything about how the family must be relieved. Here’s an example of that sentiment.
24. “I’m sure you feel lost right now. Please know that I am here for you any time you need to talk.”
Some people need time to be on their own before they begin having social interactions with others. This is not true for everyone. Ask your friend how she is feeling.
25. “I hope you are comforted by your many happy memories together.”
Remind your friend of better times, especially if their loved one suffered at the end of his life.
It’s Hard To Know What To Say
You’re not the only one who struggles to find the right words during emotional situations. That’s why we provide resources such as this.
You may also consider sharing a Bible verse, poem, or quote that you think is especially profound and significant. You may also find a heartfelt, wholesome meme that expresses sympathy.
No matter how you say it, be sure to let your friend know that you care.