How to Comfort Someone Who Is Grieving Through Text

You've just heard of a dear friend's loss. Maybe you're at work, or in another town, or ready to drop everything and travel a long way to be there to comfort a close friend in this challenging time.

Or, perhaps the funeral is over and you want to continue showing your support. Life goes on, but for your grieving friend or family member, life doesn't really go on, at least right now.

One of the simplest yet most important ways to comfort a grieving person - in our digital age - is through text.

But what are the right words to say? You certainly don't want to say the wrong thing. What's the best way to communicate in a meaningful way? What is appropriate to say in a condolence message sent via text? What should you say in a follow-up text after the funeral?

Here are some tips on what to say to someone who lost a loved one over text, plus examples of condolence text messages for you to adapt.

How to Comfort Someone Over Text

Tip #1 - Just do it

First of all, and most important: Text them. Just do it.

You need to say something. This is the biggest thing in their life, and will be for a long time. So, even if you feel weird about it, just say something.

Tip #2 - If you don't know what to say, say so

You don't have to know the perfect thing to say. There really isn't any perfect words of comfort for someone who is grieving. 

The reality is, death is hard. It's a tragedy. Your comforting words aren't going to fix everything, so don't wait until you know just what to say. Come to grips with your inadequacy but continue on, as a true friend should.

Tip #3 - Avoid clichés

You know the ones I mean.

"Everything happens for a reason."

"God must have wanted them in heaven more than we do on earth."

"He's in a better place."

Just.... no.

Of course you'll have to use some clichés - I'm sorry for your loss; I'm thinking of you; How can I help?

Just steer clear of the syrupy, false-comfort ones.

Tip #4 - Don't talk about yourself

Now is not the time to talk about your own experience with grief, death, or difficult emotions. Sure, you may have had a similar experience in some way, but the bereaved person doesn't need to hear about it.

The right way to be a great friend is to focus on them. Provide a listening ear, affirm them in their grief, offer a heartfelt message with kind words and perhaps a personal memory or story of the decedent.

Tip #5 - Volunteer your help

Offer to be there for your friend in specific ways in their time of need. If you just say "Let me know if there's anything you need," well, sorry, but they're not going to. Put yourself in their shoes - anytime someone has said that to you, have you ever taken them up on the offer? Of course not.

Instead, offer specific help. And go beyond offering - volunteer. At the same time, don't be pushy or overbearing. Try to hit a good balance between imposing on them and letting them know you're really serious about helping.

"I'd like to bring some food so you don't have to cook, what's your favorite?"

"I'm going to have dinner delivered to you from [restaurant]. What do you usually get there?"

"Can I come over tomorrow and wash dishes, vacuum, fold laundry...? We can hang out or you can take a nap, whatever is most helpful!"

Start with a text, but remember that you can talk to them too! Sometimes a phone call means a lot, hearing your voice on the other end of the line. 

What to Say to Someone Who Lost a Loved One Over Text

Here's what to say in a text to a grieving friend or family member who has just lost a loved one:

  • Acknowledge their loss ("I'm so sorry to hear about Angie!")
  • Say the decedent's name (this is a form of validation of their grief)
  • Offer condolences/express sympathy ("I can't imagine what you're going through")
  • Support them (offer to help, thinking of you/praying for you, etc)

What to Text When Someone Dies

Here are some examples of texts for when you first hear about the death.

  • I have no words... But I want you to know I love you and am here for you.
  • Oh friend! I just heard about [name], I'm so sorry!
  • I heard about [name] and want you to know I am thinking of you in this difficult time.
  • Dear friend! I'm coming over as soon as I get off work. I love you and will help with anything you need!
  • I just heard about [name], I'm so sorry for your loss! I can't be there in person right now, but I am here for you in whatever way I can help. I'm free after Thursday, I'll be available for anything you need.

How to Check Up on Someone After a Death via Text

Here are some examples of texts to comfort a grieving friend after the funeral, or at least after the initial period of shock and grief. These would be second, third, etc, texts to send after the death of their loved one as a way to check up on them.

  • That was a lovely funeral service. I'm sorry you had to go through this. [Name] was an amazing person.
  • It was a privilege to attend [name's] memorial service. Our hearts are with you in this time of loss.
  • We're organizing some meals for your family for the next few days. What is a good time for someone to drop off a hot meal tomorrow?
  • Can I arrange some meals sent to you? Any requests?
  • I'm coming over to help out. Need anything from the store? When I'm there we can sit and talk or you can take a nap while I do the dishes, whatever is helpful
  • Just wanted you to know that I'm thinking of you. Can I come over sometime, maybe we can share happy memories of [name] together. 
  • I'm out running errands, anything I can pick up for you?
  • [Name] was a special person and I miss him too. Just wanted you to know that I'm thinking about you.
  • I'm making you some food. What's your favorite?
  • Can I take you out to coffee on Tuesday? Or would you prefer me to bring some to you?
  • I know things will be rough for a while. How can I help?
  • Just want you to know I'm here. Anytime you want to talk, text, or just get out, let me know.

Make a note of the day the loved one died. Set a reminder for yourself for a month, or six months, and especially a year after the person's death, reminding you to send a comforting text to your friend.

  • I know today is an important day. I'm thinking of you. Want to get together?
  • [Name's] birthday must be a rough day for you. How are you doing?
  • Today's the anniversary; here's something beautiful [attach picture of flowers, a pretty sunrise, etc]

Condolences Text Messages

  • Just wanted to let you know I'm thinking of you, praying for you, and grieving with you.
  • I'm here if you ever need to talk. You have my deepest sympathies!
  • My heartfelt condolences go out to you and your family
  • Can I bring you anything? Tacos, ice cream...?
  • I'm sorry for your loss.
  • Just wanted to share my favorite photo of [name] with you. She had a great smile and I'll miss her a ton. [Attach photo]
  • I want you to know friends who love you surround you.
  • When my [parent/friend/uncle/etc] died, I felt so alone. I just wanted you to know you're not alone.
  • I know this is hard. I love you.
  • No words can describe how sorry I am for your loss.
  • Thinking of you in this difficult time.
  • God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 Thinking of you, dear friend!
  • Although we are miles apart, I'm with you in heart and spirit.

More Resources

One of the best ways you can show practical support is to learn more about the grieving process. The more you know, the better you can understand and help the bereaved person in their time of grief.

Comforting Memorial Gifts

Now that you know a little more about texting a grieving friend, you may want to go to the next level and send a token of your love and support.

Here are some comforting memorial and sympathy gifts you can have shipped directly to your friend.

Please note that these include affiliate links, where we may make a commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase a gift on our recommendation.

Memorial Bottle Opener

Memorial Gift - Personalized Bottle Opener

This  "Raise a glass in memory of" bottle opener is made in-house here in Oregon, handcrafted from real wood and custom engraved to order. It's a super-affordable gift, much less expensive than flowers, and lasts way longer.

Bird Feeder Sympathy Gift

Memorial Bird Feeder - Sympathy Gifts

This  Cedar Wood Bird Feeder Sympathy Gift is a great idea for when you're not sure what to send to your grieving friend.

It goes outdoors, so it won't clutter up the house. It's personalized with the loved one's name and (optional) dates, and it has a charming, life-affirming feel.

Shown with the "Bird on a Branch" artwork, you can also choose from many more themes, including Golf, Military, Celtic Cross, and so on.

Candle & Succulent Gift Box

Succulent Candle Gift Box

This simple and affordable  sympathy gift box includes a candle (with decorative matches), a succulent, and a condolence card. The sympathy card includes personalization with your own text or other message.

Floral Heart Memorial Plaque

Personalized Sympathy Gift Plaque for Grieving Friend

Gorgeous wooden plaque handcrafted in the USA and personalized to order. Includes the decedent's name and dates.  Available here.

Wanderlust Scented Candles

Sympathy Candle Gift Idea

These candles make a nice gift because they actually don't yell out "sympathy - death - memorial - your loved one is gone."

Instead, give the gift of a premium candle set. Made from high-quality soy blended wax hand-poured in the USA, these are available individually or in sets of three.

Choose from scents for the  Pacific Northwest (Fern & Petals, Pine & Fir Balsam, and Blackberry & Bay), France (Sparkling Champagne, Dark Chocolate, and Creme Brulee), or the Pacific Islands (Waikiki Waves, Fiji Flora, Tahiti Sands).

Shop Cremation Urns

Here at Urns Northwest, our specialty is not only memorial and sympathy gifts but also the very finest cremation urns.

Start by looking at our  12 Most Popular Memorial Urns, then browse our full (and extensive) collection here.

Remember that a simple text message can be a powerful way to express your condolences and show the grieving person that you care.