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How to Express Sympathy

A grieving friend or family member may experience shock and sadness of loss when someone dies. Express your sympathy at a funeral by offering them much needed support.


  • Step 1: Offer your time Offer your personal time to help with needs such as arranging transportation, cleaning a home, or helping watch children.
  • Step 2: Cook Bring, buy, or prepare food. Often, after a death, time is taken up by grieving and funeral arrangements, and mourners won't have time to cook for themselves. Sometimes a meal can say what words cannot.
  • Step 3: Send flowers Send flowers with a personalized message or donate to their recommended charity.
  • Step 4: Give them a hug Offer a hug, or two.
  • Step 5: Listen Listen to them and allow them to express their feelings.
  • TIP: Listen without offering any advice.
  • Step 6: Call Call and express your sympathy or send a card and express it in writing.
  • Step 7: Be present Be in their presence. Even if you do not talk, being physically present can be helpful.
  • FACT: Neuroscientists have found that feelings of sympathy not only trigger brain activity in areas associated with emotion, but also in areas associated with performing an action.

You Will Need

  • Time
  • Food
  • Flowers
  • Donation
  • Patience
  • Card

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