Photo Courtesy of Adair Rutledge
Knowing what to say to someone going through loss or hardship is always a challenge. You certainly don’t want to say the wrong thing, but saying nothing could be just as hurtful.
We’re here to help. We asked our CaringBridge users for some helpful words to share with someone in need of some consoling. Here are their ideas:
1. Be There for Them
We show up for the people we care about. Being there for someone can mean a lot of things, but most importantly: make sure you remain present throughout (and after) their crisis.
If they’re in the hospital, make sure to visit. Pick up the phone and give them a call, just because. Show up in the ways you know you’d need it, if you were in their place.
“I’m here for you” is a good place to start.
“I am always here for you. Stay positive. I will pray for you. Stay strong.”
“Just letting them know, you are there anytime day or night.”
2. Tell Them (and Show) That You Love Them
Those three little words, “I love you,” can make a bigger impact than you know. During a difficult time, your family member or friend needs all the love they can get.
Beyond expressing your love with words, your actions can speak volumes as well. Offer to help out around the house, start a fundraiser, or give a thoughtful gift. It’s important to consider something practical that they would find useful or reminds them of a more positive time in their lives.
Here are some more ideas to show someone you love them.
3. Pray for Them
Offering prayers is a thoughtful gesture for someone who needs some consolation, and the act of praying may offer some peace for you as well.
“Prayers are so powerful.”
“I will keep you in my prayers.”
Rebekah Depositar Arvin
4. Take Time to Listen
Showing up for someone is more than just what you say: it’s how well you listen. When your loved one is going through a difficult time, they may just need someone to ask them how they are really doing, and give them their full attention.
Letting them talk through what’s going on can be incredibly healing – and all you need to offer is an ear to listen.
“They just need you talk to them like a good friend. Ask them how they’re doing and taking time to listen is what they need most.”
“More importantly, make sure you listen to them – for a month, a year, ten years – however long it takes.”
Sally Killean Comparetto
5. A Hug Can Speak Volumes
Hugs can make your loved one feel supported and cared for during a challenging time. And did you know? There are actually scientific reasons behind this. Hugs can increase your oxytocin, which is a chemical associated with happiness and less stress.
Provided you feel comfortable enough to do so, open your arms wide and give your loved one a warm embrace. It might be just the thing they need to feel consoled.
“Just be there with hugs and say, I’m so sorry!”
Tommie Lois Thompson
6. Share Memories
If they lost a loved one, sharing stories of happier times can be truly heart-warming. They can cherish those memories forever.
“When I lost my son the one thing that comforted me was knowing that people could share stories about him with me. It has been 3 years and 10 months and I can still replay those stories in my mind – knowing how much he meant to others brings warm memories to me.”
“Share stories and not just at the funeral home. If you remember something later, find a way to share.”
7. Continue Offering Support
Oftentimes, a person needs the most support in the weeks and months after a distressing event. It’s important that no matter what you do to comfort your loved one, you continue showing up for them.
How Do You Console a Loved One?
We hope these 7 ideas offered some guidance on what to say, or do, for your loved one. If you have any other ideas, we’d love to hear them! Please leave a comment below with your advice.