Older woman hugging a younger woman


One of the most difficult things for people to do is choosing what to say to someone who has lost a parent. Especially if you have never been in a similar situation in the past.

What to say to someone who lost a parent? If you have a close friend or relative who recently lost their mother or father, it is easy to be at a loss for words. You may be grieving yourself if you were close to the individual and finding the right words to comfort another at this difficult time can be a challenge.

And it is a task that we all will encounter at one point in our lives or another.

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Understanding What to Say to Someone Who Lost a Parent

If you are afraid that you may slip up and say the wrong thing, or if you tend to say things that may sound inappropriate at times, you’re not alone. It’s a common mistake that many well-meaning adults make simply because some of us don’t know how to express our true feelings to others.

If you have lost a parent yourself, you may have a better idea of what to say to your friends or family members in mourning than others. Remember what words helped you get through that difficult time and pass them along for encouragement.

However, if you have never experienced the loss of a parent or close loved one, it can be very difficult to put yourself in their shoes. You may have a large amount of sympathy for the survivors but can’t comprehend the level of sadness they are experiencing.

Helpful Advice on What Not to Say 

two men chatting in a public room

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It’s important to keep the personality of the mourning individual in mind when you are thinking of what to say to someone who lost a parent. And how well you know them. If they are a longtime friend who you love to joke around with, perhaps some words that are witty, but comforting can bring a smile to their face during this difficult time.

Yet if the person is easily offended or the death was exceedingly difficult on the family, it is best to keep the comments at a compassionate level without any humor involved.

Also, you shouldn’t try to compare their loss to the one you have experienced. Everyone deals with death in different ways and there are various types of grief that we go through when we lose a parent as opposed to a relative we weren’t close to. While it may be good that you can empathize with them on their loss, this time should be about consoling them and allowing them to go through the mourning process.

The 10 Best Things You Can Say to a Friend in Mourning of a Parent

two friends hugging

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If you are at a loss for words when attending a funeral or visiting a friend who has recently lost a parent, here are some examples of comforting things what to say to someone who lost a parent.

1. There are no words to express how sorry I am for your loss. I will keep you in my daily thoughts and prayers.

2. I was devastated to hear about your loss, please reach out to me any time you need someone to talk to.

3. Your Dad brought so much joy to everyone he met. He will be missed by everyone he knew.

4. I’m very sorry for your loss. I will always remember your mother as a kind and loving person. I will always remember how loving she was to your family.

5. I wish there was something I could say or do to take away your pain. Just know that I am here for you if you need a friend.

6. If there is anything I can do to help, just let me know.

7. Your mom was a shining light to many people and a great inspiration to us all. We will miss her terribly. Please don’t hesitate to call me if you want to talk.

8. I can’t begin to express how sorry I am for your loss. Your Mom was a dear person to us all. I will keep you in my prayers.

9. I will always remember your Dad as a generous person. We’ll miss him but know that his legacy will live on through the good work he did while he was alive.

10. I will miss your Dad’s kindness and polite smile. Please know that I will be praying for you and your loved ones.

Additional Ways to Help Someone Who Has Lost a Parent

Sometimes there are no words that can help a grieving individual who has just lost their parent.

A simple gesture such as a hug or respecting that person’s privacy if they want to be alone can often say more than any comforting words.

Keep These Things in Mind When Visiting a Grieving Friend.

One thing to keep in mind when you are wondering what to say to someone who has lost a parent is to speak with love and compassion.

By doing so, regardless of your words, the other person will see that you care and do what you can to help.