Texts that show you care, when a friend or family member is in mourning
People in deep grief appreciate expressions of support, but they may be less willing or able to respond to them.
Sending a text gives them the option of simply receive your caring message, without pressure to respond.
You don’t have to craft a perfectly worded message to have an impact.
Texts that have no strings, and feel open and non-judgmental, are helpful. Simply saying “I’m here for you” lets them know you accept whatever they’re going through and whatever they’re feeling.
When someone we love is grieving, it is natural to want to be there for them, the best we can. Even if physical distance and circumstance prevent us from being by their side, we can at least reach out with a text to let them know they’re not alone during this difficult time.
Although a text might not be the ideal way to let someone know we understand what they are going through, in our digitized world, it remains a good option—especially since you don’t want your loved one to have to wait to get a card. You want that person to know, as soon as possible, that you’re there for them.
Crafting a comforting text can sometimes feel a bit daunting, though. We want to convey our empathy, and let them know we are there to listen when they’re ready to talk about their feelings.
People grieve differently, and sometimes they do so in unexpected ways. Opening ourselves up to the emotions of someone we love so they feel welcome to share anything they’re thinking and feeling is essential to provide comfort and understanding. A text can be an excellent, low-pressure way to do that.
“I’m here for you”
Even if your loved one knows that you want to help them any way you can, it is important to emphasize it and reiterate it. With this simple message they feel your heartfelt care, and know they can rely on you.
Another reason this is a message that resonates is that it is a message about them, not you.
Try to avoid making it about you—by saying you know how they feel, or you’ve been through something similar. That’s a conversation for a much later date; keep the focus on them and being with them in their grief.
Similarly, phrases like “be strong” or “you’ll get through this” may be heartfelt, but they exert subtle pressure on them to act a certain way, at a time when getting through life minute to minute may feel like a challenge. Avoid them.
“Do you need anything right now?”
For some people, grief sends them into a tailspin of worry, busyness, and tasks. There are endless things to take care of after someone dies, and many people feel comfortable focusing on to-do lists rather than feelings.
A text is a low-pressure way to let your loved one know that you care, and that they are welcome to share anything they’re thinking and feeling.
If they need help, they’ll tell you. If they don’t, they know you are there for them in a practical way as well as an emotional way. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Reassurance of this fact will go a long way.
“I feel honored to have known _______”
Although your feelings are secondary to your loved one’s feelings right now, people want to know that others in their life were touched by the person whom they’re grieving.
In fact, many people in grief want to talk about the person who has passed—not just their feelings about their death.
For example, if someone loses a close family member or a best friend and you were able to get to know that person over the years, you can simply say you feel “honored” or “blessed” to have known them.
You’re letting them know that the person who has passed away had an impact on your world, and will be missed by many because of the human being they were.
“I’m coming by”
People who are deep in grief sometimes forget to take care of themselves. They skip meals because their thoughts are somewhere else, they forget to pick up important prescriptions, they don’t walk their pets as regularly as they did before, and in many cases, they just can’t function at 100%.
Sometimes people don’t know what they need. If you have the kind of relationship where showing up and doing what needs to be done feels right, then just do it.
Stop by and start helping: caring for the kids, tending to the pets, cleaning the house, taking out the trash, and cooking or dropping off meals. Or, simply sit with your grieving loved one. Even sitting in silence conveys your love and support.
If they choose not to answer the door, many people will leave a note or a meal on their doorstep. Just send a follow-up text saying what you left, and they can receive your gift when they are up to it.
“How’s today going?”
Checking in on the mental, emotional, and physical health of your loved one says so much.
Perhaps they won’t get back to you, or maybe they’ll send a quick “I’m OK.” No matter how they respond, just checking in on them lets them know you’re thinking about them.
You can’t solve this for them, but you can bear witness, and that’s a powerful thing.
Sometimes that is all someone needs to know to feel comforted. The key is to not pressure them to respond. And if they do respond and tell you all the difficulties they’ve had that day, just listen. You can’t solve this for them, but you can bear witness, and that’s a powerful thing.
Watching someone we love grieve can be extremely difficult. But what’s even more difficult is the grief that your loved one is experiencing because of their loss. You may not be sure what to say exactly or when you should say it, but if you put yourself in their shoes and think about what you’d want to hear and feel in the same situation, it will help guide you as you keep in touch.