What to Say to Someone Who is Going to a Funeral
Some people may want to avoid mentioning an upcoming funeral altogether, either through awkwardness or for fear of upsetting another person.
It’s worth remembering that even if they are not showing it, a bereaved person will still feel raw and may be hurting. Expressing your sympathy is polite and can be comforting. If it triggers tears, that is natural at a time like this.
When expressing sympathy, you may choose to use the name of the person who has died or their relationship to the person who has died.
‘I was so sorry to hear about John’ or ‘I was so sorry to hear about your mother.’
They are short and simple, and this may be all you have to say unless the bereaved person continues the conversation.
Admitting that you don’t know what to say may make you feel like you are not saying anything at all, but it can be an honest and appreciated response. Sometimes the actual words you say are not as important as the expression of your sympathy and support.
Depending on your relationship with the person who has the funeral plans, your initial contact may come from bumping into them at work or elsewhere. If you are friends, you may find it appropriate to send a suitable card with a simple message. A phone call or a visit may also be welcome.
In this digital age, social media offers another channel for people to express grief and sympathy, but the appropriateness will often depend on the individual and may be generational. If a bereaved person posts about their loved one, it is generally appropriate to make a respectful comment underneath.