Whether it’s your mom, your dad, your best friend, or a lover, when a friend or family member is dying, it can be hard to know exactly what to say.
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Many people avoid the topic entirely because they’re afraid of being rude. Other people worry about being too sentimental and making their sick loved one feel depressed.
But if there are important things you want to communicate, you don’t have to shy away from them. You should take this opportunity to tell people what they mean to you while they’re lucid enough to hear it.
Here are some original ways you can tell your loved one just how much you’ll miss them. We’ve also included some quotes about missing people that may inspire you.
Post-loss tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, the emotional and technical aspects of handling their unfinished business can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.
Original Ways to Say You Will Miss Someone
These sentiments are general enough that they can apply to a variety of situations. They offer you opportunities to customize your message to its recipient.
1. “I will miss you.”
On the surface, “I will miss you” doesn’t seem much different than saying “you will be missed.” But “you will be missed” is a passive construction. It makes the sentiment sound cliched and impersonal.
Saying “I will miss you” is a more straightforward and emotional way of expressing your feelings. “I will miss you” demonstrates a sense of urgency and expresses emotional closeness.
2. “I will always love you.”
Your loved one knows that you care about them. But it will mean a lot to them to know that your feelings for them will continue even after they’re gone.
When someone dies, your love for them doesn’t die—they live on in your heart.
3. “On all the important days in my life—and on the regular ones, too—you will be on my mind.”
Whenever you celebrate a milestone occasion in your life, you’ll think of loved ones who have passed away.
Absences are always felt heavily at graduations, weddings, holidays, and other key events. For example, we’re almost always missing someone at Christmas whether they’re separated from us by distance or death.
But our friends and family members want to know we’ll still remember them even in mundane times. If you and your brother love superhero movies, let him know you’ll keep an empty seat next to you in his memory when you attend in the future. If you and your friend love to craft together, let her know you’ll think of her with every stitch.
4. “I’m so lucky to have had you in my life.”
Every person you ever encounter brings something special to your life. Maybe it’s kindness. Maybe it’s wisdom. Maybe it’s fun and companionship.
Let your loved one know all the ways that they enriched your life, and let them know you realize just how fortunate you are.
5. “I wish we had more time together, but I’ll always value the time we did have.”
There’s an old saying that goes, “people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.”
You may wish your friend or family member had a longer lifetime to spend with you. But even if they were just there for a season, let them know the impact they had on you will stay with you indefinitely.
6. “I will think of you often.”
Whenever you’re thinking of someone it’s always thoughtful to let them know. Unfortunately, when a loved one passes away, it’s impossible to reach out and tell them that they’re on your mind.
Be sure to tell them before they die that you will think about them. Let them know specific instances that will always remind you of them. This personalized approach feels more heartfelt.
7. “Every time I hear (insert name of a song), I’ll miss you.”
Music can have a deep emotional resonance. When you look back at your friendships and relationships in life, you likely have songs that connect you with other people.
A song can remind you of a specific event like a wedding dance or a road trip. Or it can take you back to a certain era in your life. If there’s a song that reminds you of your loved one, let them know it will keep connecting you even after they’re gone.
8. “I will miss you like the deserts miss the rain.”
Speaking of songs, this line is inspired by lyrics from the song “Missing” by Everything but the Girl.
It’s a poetic way to express how essential your friend is to your existence, and how much you’ll long for them when they’re gone.
9. “Even though missing you will hurt, I’ll always think of you with joy because of the light you brought to my life.”
Sometimes we avoid talking about death with the dying because we don’t want to talk about how much we’ll grieve for them. We don’t want them to feel bad because of the pain that we’ll be left with.
Expressing it like this acknowledges your pain, but puts the focus on the positivity your loved one has brought to your life.
10. “I will miss you every day until we see each other again.”
For people who believe in heaven or some other form of the afterlife, death is not the end of the journey.
If you and your dying loved one share a common belief, this can help provide comfort to you both. Be cautious expressing sentiments like these to someone who doesn’t share your beliefs.
Quotes to Help You Say That You Will Miss Someone
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we can’t come up with the right words to adequately capture our emotions. Poems and songs about missing someone can offer a helping hand.
Here, we’ve compiled some of our favorite quotes about missing someone. You can read these quotes to your loved one and use them as a jumping-off point to express your feelings.
11. “I wish I had done everything on Earth with you.” — Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce
This quote is often erroneously attributed to F. Scott Fitzgerald. But while the line appeared in the film The Great Gatsby, it wasn’t in Fitzgerald’s book.
It’s a beautiful line that captures the wistfulness of missing out on experiences with loved ones.
12. “For when the cold winds blow, I will close my eyes calmly, knowing I am anchored to you.” — Tyler Knott Gregson
Gregson is a prolific poet and photographer who excels at stripping complex emotions down to just a few words.
This quote sounds sad on the surface, but it’s quite uplifting. It expresses the sentiment that even in hard times, the memory of your loved one will carry you through.
13. “Sometimes when I look at you, I feel I'm gazing at a distant star. It's dazzling, but the light is from tens of thousands of years ago. Maybe the star doesn't even exist anymore. Yet sometimes that light seems more real to me than anything.” — Haruki Murakami
South of the Border, West of the Sun is a short novel by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. This quote is about romantic love and strife, but it serves beautifully as a message to someone who is dying.
It reminds them that even once they’ve passed away, their light will continue to illuminate the lives of the ones they left behind.
14. “Your memory feels like home to me. So whenever my mind wanders, it always finds its way back to you.” — Ranata Suzuki
Suzuki is an often-quoted poet who can distill emotions down to their core.
This lovely quote can help you express that your loved one will live on in your memories.
15. “I miss you in ways that not even words can understand.” — Gemma Troy
Sometimes even the world’s best wordsmiths can’t fully describe human emotions. Troy, an accomplished Australian poet, perfectly sums up the limitations of language.
This sentiment shows that sometimes words can’t express what people mean to us.
Ways to Tell Someone You’ll Miss Them
The truth is, when someone is terminally ill, they know it. Talking around it won’t change the facts of the situation.
That doesn’t mean it’s all you should talk about. But you shouldn’t be afraid to speak your mind about how much you’ll miss your loved one.
People rarely regret being transparent about how they feel. The only thing you might regret is not finding the words to tell someone what they mean to you before it’s too late.