When a friend or family member is grieving the death of a loved one, it can be hard to know what to say or do. Some hesitate to reach out because they’re afraid to say the wrong thing. Others feel awkward and wonder if they should say anything at all.

At Sunset View Cemetery & Mortuary, we understand how important it is to stand alongside those who have experienced a loss. Our years of experience helping El Cerrito, Oakland, Berkeley, and Richmond families plan funerals have shown us the incredible value that comes in connecting with others during a difficult time.

Eventually, we’ll all have a friend lose someone they love. Do you know what to say when the time comes? Consider our advice:

What not to say: Is there anything I can do to help?

What to say: I’m going to the grocery store this afternoon. What can I pick up for you?

I have a care package I’m going to leave on your front porch. No need to answer the door when I come. What afternoon can I take the kids out so you can get some things done around the house?

What not to say: I know exactly how you feel.

What to say: I wish I had the right words to say, but please know I’m here to listen.

What not to say: Anything starting with the words “at least.” For example: At least you have your other children with you. At least his suffering didn’t last long.

What to say: You must really miss him.

What not to say: God never gives us more than we can handle. God must have needed another angel in heaven.  This is God’s plan.

 What to say: I know how special she was and how much you loved her.

What not to say: You need to be strong.

What to say: We all need support in times like this. I’m here for you.

Instead of trying to “fix” your loved one or talk them out of their pain, it’s best to express support and compassion. Here are a few more examples of how to do so:

  • I’m up late and you can always call me.
  • I’m so sorry.
  • Do you feel like talking about her death right now?
  • I have time for you and am here to listen.
  • I’ll be here as long as you need me.

If you or a loved one is in need of help with grief, please reach out to us. We can connect you with aftercare resources in El Cerrito, or direct you to our online interactive grief support. Dealing with loss can permeate every part of life and it’s important to work through these emotions. It’s also important to remember that everyone grieves differently. When you need us, our team at Sunset View Cemetery & Mortuary is here to help however we can.