How to Comfort Someone Who Has Lost a Loved One

Do you wonder how to comfort someone who has lost a loved one, even to suicide? Just show you care. Here are a few ways:

By PeggySu Wells:

 When someone loses a loved one to suicide, what do I say? How can I be the hands of Jesus to someone who is suffering loss?

In times of deep grief, I have found that hope is more important than advice.

Job said it this way, “Do I have the strength of stone? Is my flesh bronze? Do I have any power to help myself, now that success has been driven from me? A despairing man should have the devotion of his friends,” (Job 6:12 – 14 NIV).

During those dark hours, Jesus calls us not to be experts, but to come alongside and provide enCOURAGEment.

“A friend sent flowers on that first sad Mother’s Day after my child died,” my Sunday school teacher said. “I felt loved and understood.”

Another grieving mother said, “After the loss of my son, some people felt awkward when they saw me and turned away. I appreciated those who hugged me and said, ‘I’m praying for you.’”

Trusting God when we least understand is faith in action. Gentle comfort is given by those that put their arms around hurting people and say, “I don’t understand either. But I love you and I am here to go through this with you.”

Romans 8:38-39 (NIV) promises, “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

One man said, “I was comforted by those who walked with me in the church parking lot, who sat with me so I wouldn’t be alone in my regular pew, and who invited me to lunch on an otherwise lonely weekend afternoon.”

Time doesn’t heal the wounds of someone who has had to say good-by to a loved one. Time merely teaches us to live with that over-sized, gaping hole in our life and heart. We can walk beside another through the journey of grief. Ecclesiastes 4:10 (NIV) says,

“If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”

The first year after the loss of someone special is especially difficult. Holidays are a merciless reminder that life is forever altered. Comfort your grieving friend with flowers, a note, or a memorial gift in their loved one’s name on Valentines Day, Easter, Mother’s or Father’s Day, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Soothe the sorrow of the anniversary date that marks the loss with a phone call to say, “I’m remembering you today.”

Called to mirror Jesus Christ by being His hands to a hurting world, we help others by seeing and empathizing with their pain. God consoles us so we can show compassion to others.

For additional information on coming alongside someone experiencing loss and grief, read What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Say (Bethany House) and An Early Journey Home (Discovery House).