What to Text Someone Who Is Grieving to Comfort Them

Updated September 10, 2022
Young man sitting on bed looking at his smartphone

Although you might not feel like texting is the best way to reach out to comfort someone who's grieving, sometimes it's the most appropriate way to offer your condolences. The grieving process is all-encompassing and will zap even the strongest person of their emotional and physical energy. So, friends and family who're dealing with a loss might not have the energy for taking on your in-person messages of support, no matter how well meaning they are. How to comfort someone over text through a loss can look different from person to person, so when you can't be there to offer your comfort face-to-face, reaching out by text with genuine care is far better than not reaching out at all.

Text Messages to Send the Newly Grief-Stricken

Immediately following a death, the surviving spouse, parent, or child'll likely be inundated by texts, calls, and random visits from loved ones. For many people, texting is a safe way to offer condolences. Other people have a reaction to the news of a death where they reach out to the grieving person to either ask, "Why didn't you tell me?" or "I'm hurting so much," neither of which is appropriate when someone is trying to process a loved one's passing on their own. Be sure that the text you send is one that focuses on offering support rather than asking invasive questions about the death, funeral arrangements, and so on.

Furthermore, don't be offended if you don't receive a response. It's not a reflection on how they feel about you! The person on the receiving end of the message is dealing with many priorities that outrank returning your text. Know how to offer condolences via text to show you care but without any expectations of the person experiencing the loss.

Text Examples of Condolences Immediately Following a Death

As soon as you hear of a person's passing, you might choose to reach out right away and extend your words of love and support. When you're deciding how to send condolences over text, consider these examples of appropriate ways to message someone immediately following a death:

  • I'm leaving my phone on tonight in case you want to talk. It doesn't matter what time, I will be there.
  • I can be at your house by 5:00. Let me come over and help however you need it.
  • Don't worry about responding... I just want you to know I'm sorry and I'm here for you.
  • I don't know the right words to say right now, and while it is cliche,I am sorry, and I love you very much
  • I wish I could be there with you right now. Are there people there to help you?
  • What can I do to help you right now?
  • I can't imagine how you're feeling right now, but I want you to know I'm here for you.
  • I just heard about (name of deceased's) passing. Please know you and your family are in my heart, and if you need anything, I'm always here.
  • So profoundly sad about your loss. We're happy to help in any way possible.
  • I know the death of (person who passed) was sudden and is still raw. I just wanted to text and let you know I love you. I'll check in with you in the next few days to see where we can help.

Offering General Condolences Via Text Message

You may not feel comfortable reaching out to the grieving person until a couple of days after their loved one's passing. Waiting a few days to extend condolences can give those in mourning time to process the reality of their loved one's death, and allow them to get into a headspace where they can deal with incoming texts. Remember to tailor your message to the relationship level you have with the person suffering a loss. If you don't talk with them on a regular basis or on a deep level, keep the message short and concise.

Here's a good mix of short messages to comfort someone through text that'll work in many different situations, whether you're deciding how to comfort a grieving friend over text, reaching out to a family member, or showing support to someone else you know:

  • Do you need help with the memorial service? I can help.
  • You're in our prayers, and we love you.
  • (Deceased) was a fantastic person, and everyone will miss them.
  • Is there anything I can do to help you? Anything at all?
  • (Deceased's) memory will live on through you. They were always so proud of you.
  • Whatever I can do to support you, I'm willing and able.
  • We're all right there behind you, here to love you through this difficult time.
  • We're pulling together some casseroles for your family. Let us know a delivery time that works for you.
  • May I swing by and pick up the kids for a few hours so you can have some time to think?
  • I'm here to drive you around, bring you food, clean your kitchen, run errands, make phone calls, or do anything else you need.
  • If you don't want to be alone for a while, my door is always open.

Remember that when choosing how to comfort someone who is grieving through text, you should keep the focus on the person suffering, not on your own sadness or past experiences.

Upset mother and daughter with phone

How to Comfort Someone Over Text With Longer Messages

For many, a short text doesn't offer up the same amount of comfort that a longer one can. While you might feel like you're burdening the person that's grieving with a bombardment of words, sometimes a short paragraph for someone who lost a loved one can be the lifeline they didn't realize they needed. If you've ever experienced your own loss, you've probably needed a heartfelt reminder but didn't know how to ask for one. Whether reaching out to text someone who lost their dad or mom, comfort a grieving friend, or share a caring quote when someone loses a spouse, a thoughtful text can be incredibly powerful.

Try using one of these examples if you're seeking how to comfort someone who is grieving through text. If you're at a loss for words, you can use a sample message to send someone who lost a loved one, or customize them to fit your specific situation:

Text for a 'Doer'

I know you've probably been overwhelmed with people and messages, and I don't want to add to the stress so feel free to ignore this until you're up to reading it. You have to be feeling exhausted, and I'd love to come over sometime in the evening to help clean up around the house and run any errands you need done. Or if you just want someone to do the shopping for you, I'm more than happy to take a trip to the store! Just know that I'm here for you and am just a quick text or call away.

Text for a Sudden Loss

Hi, sweetheart, I hope you've been able to take some time and rest. With everything happening so suddenly, I can imagine that you're probably feeling a bit numb right now. I don't want to take up too much of your time or space, but I'd love to come over and help with anything that you need. Want your laundry done, or just a hug? I'm there.

What to Text for Someone Who Lost a Parent

[Person who's grieving], I know you're probably feeling more alone now than ever before, but I wanted to remind you that I'm always here to be whatever you need. I know I can't ever be a replacement for [person who passed], but remember that everything I, or anyone else does, is just a reflection of the love that your [mom or dad] had for you sent back your way. Stay well and get some rest, and let me know when you're feeling up to talking.

What to Text for Someone Who Lost a Partner

There's really nothing I can say that'll mollify how insurmountable your feelings are right now, but above anything else, I want you to remember that I love you and that I'm not going anywhere. If you need to disappear for a while, I'll be right here when you get back, or if you don't want to be alone for a few weeks, I've got my bags packed. I'm here to be whatever you need from me.

What to Text for Someone Who Lost a Child

I can't imagine the pain that you're experiencing right now, and I won't even pretend to be able to comprehend it, but all I know is that I'm here to do anything that you need while you're hurting. It's okay to take some time for yourself. Don't worry about responding to my messages, but I wanted to let you know that I will be checking in often just to let you know I'm thinking of you. When you are ready I'm here.

Showing Your Support After the Crowd Leaves

Grieving people don't magically stop hurting just because a funeral or memorial service has happened. In fact, this is the time that they're probably most vulnerable since all the offers of help have started to wane, and they're left with the reality of life without the person they love. Reaching out to someone to check up on them as they're in the midst of the grieving process can be a thoughtful gesture on your part. You may find that texting the grieving person after services allows them to be more willing to engage in conversation than they would have been immediately following the death. Whether someone is dealing with a sudden death or missing a lost loved one, deciding how to comfort someone through text involves empathy and support.

Text Examples for Those Grieving a Loss

These texts offer support that isn't vague, but rather specific to the possible needs of a grieving individual who has suffered a tremendous and recent loss. They help remind the grieving person that while this might be the most lonely they've ever felt, they're not alone, and people care about them and continue to want to help them through this difficult time.

  • Does your schedule allow you to get away for coffee on Thursday? Name the place, and I can be there!
  • May I have some meals sent to you? Any special requests?
  • I'm thinking of you right now and sending good energy your way.
  • I can't take away your pain, but I can offer you a listening ear, a cup of tea, or a big hug at any time.
  • I'm here for you and am always available to talk about anything. You are loved, and I want to help you.
  • I'm sorry I can't be there in person right now; I am here for you in whatever way I can help.
  • I care about you, and I'm sorry you had to go through this.
  • Whenever you need a friend, dial this number.
  • Hey friend, reaching out to see how you are and if you want to talk?
  • Just texting to say I love you.
  • I know things can be so much harder at nighttime, so please call if you feel yourself getting overwhelmed. I'll answer at anytime!

Texts to Send Someone Who's Missing a Loved One

While knowing what to text when someone dies is difficult enough, reaching out to someone who might be missing a lost loved one is another challenge. The anniversary of a person's death can be difficult to deal with, as can the deceased's birthday, the first holiday without a loved one, or any other special occasion to which the deceased was tied (such as a wedding anniversary).

For the people you're particularly close to, you can mark these dates on your calendar, and make sure to reach out to their loved ones on significant milestone days. These specific days will likely be challenging for years to come, and a few words via text can make them feel supported and considered.

  • I know today is an important day. Are you doing OK?
  • Do you feel like talking? I can call you after work if you'd like.
  • Today reminds me of that lake trip we took for your second anniversary. (Deceased) was the best swimmer by far! They'll be missed.
  • Here's my favorite picture of (Deceased) - They're so missed! (attach a photo of Deceased)
  • I'm drinking a beer in memory of (Deceased) and toasting them right now.
  • I saw a gorgeous rainbow in the sky today. Of course, things of beauty are everywhere on (Deceased)'s birthday!
  • On (blank's birthday), I like to think of them (insert the favorite activity of the person who passed).
  • Some days are harder than others, I'm sure. While I can't pretend to know such insurmountable grief as you do, I imagine today is difficult. So, I wanted to check in and tell you I love you.
  • We cry because we miss them so, but smile for all the memories that we had time to create with them. Hoping you are surrounded by the fondest thoughts of your days together.
  • If you want company today, I'm here, but if you need to be alone, I entirely understand. Just know I'm a text message or call away.

Texting an Acquaintance After They Experience a Loss

Should you text someone who doesn't necessarily fall within your category of "loved ones" (like a co-worker or friend of a friend) after they experience the death of someone close to them? Yes. A text of condolences can help the person feel a little less alone. In this instance, don't try to make the same statement you would for someone close to you. Instead, a simple text is your best bet.

Don't expect them to open up to you if you aren't particularly close, but be prepared for the possibility that they express their emotions openly with you. Remember, you don't know this person as closely as you know others, so guessing how they process grief won't be possible. Be open to whatever type of response you receive.

Send your distant friends and acquaintances one of these messages when they're grieving to show them you care:

  • I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. I, too, have lost my (blank), and while I don't pretend to know your level of grief, I can empathize with this challenging time.
  • Your work crew is thinking of you during this challenging time. (For a work acquaintance).
  • I can't take away your pain, but I can take away your hunger. (Donuts and coffee are in the breakroom).
  • Is there anything I can take care of for you here at the office while you're gone? I want to help you in any way I can.
  • Hi, I heard through (blank) you lost (blank). So sorry to hear about this. You're in our thoughts.
  • I wanted to drop a note letting you know how sorry we all were to hear about your loss.
  • Please take whatever time you need to process your loss and be with your family. We have work covered. (From a manager to an employee).
  • So sorry to hear about (blank's passing.) I remember how fondly you spoke of them. You are in our thoughts during this terribly difficult time.
  • So saddened by the loss of your (blank). Anything I can take off of your plate, please let me know. (Appropriate for a co-worker).
  • I just heard about your loss, and I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. I can always lend an ear if you need to let your feelings out.
  • You might feel like you're alone in this, but you're not; you've got a ton of people standing behind you waiting to help where we can.

Serious woman using cellphone

Tips on How to Comfort Someone Through Text

A text is a quick way to offer comfort and check in on someone who is hurting due to the loss of a loved one. If you know the person well or are close to them (proximity speaking), offer help in a specific manner. If you are not close emotionally or locationally, still reach out to let those suffering know you are thinking of them. What to text a grieving friend or family member can feel like putting together a difficult puzzle because you want your message to be heard but don't want to say the wrong thing. Thankfully, there are a couple of dos and don'ts when it comes to how to comfort someone over text that you can follow to always have a good impact.

Keep It Brief

One of the keys to knowing what to text someone who lost a loved one is not going overboard. Keep your text brief, especially when the news of the death is relatively new - unless you're incredibly close to the person who's grieving. The recipient will be dealing with myriad emotions, and reading through a lengthy text might be a chore. Also, remember that texting lacks the benefit of nonverbal communication; read and re-read your text before sending it to ensure it can't be misunderstood.

Simplicity Is Key

It may feel generic to send a text that says, "I'm sorry for your loss" or "My prayers are with you," but if you're having trouble forming the right words, it's better to send a simple text than not contacting the person at all. Give yourself a little grace if you're grieving too, or if you have little experience with the process of losing someone close to you. Nobody expects you to come up with the perfect words, and no matter how great or profound your words might be, you cannot ever take the pain away for another.

Avoid Clichés

Sometimes knowing how to comfort someone through text means understanding what not to say. "Everything happens for a reason," or "God must have needed another angel," probably isn't going to help the person feel comforted because both statements indicate a higher power wanted the person dead. It's not a very comforting thought unless the recipient believes in a divine plan and accepts it. It's best to avoid these types of condolences unless you're absolutely sure they'll resonate with the person on the other end of your text message.

Reach Out When You're Ready

Reach out to the person when you are ready. There's no right or wrong time to comfort someone, so it's okay to wait a day or two if you need it before sending a text message.

Check-in More Than Once

Checking in more than once with loved ones to show support and make sure they are okay can demonstrate your genuine care and concern. Text messages can help you check in with someone grieving in an unintrusive way that still shows you care.

Know When a Text Is Appropriate and When It's Not

A text may not always be the best way to reach out to someone grieving the loss of a loved one. People who don't typically text might be offended by you sending them a text instead of showing up to comfort them, since it may seem too casual for a situation such as death. Yet, in our modern age, sending a text to comfort someone is becoming totally normal and can be a meaningful way to show your sympathy and support.

Whether it's knowing what to text someone that lost a grandparent or how to respond to a person that lost a friend, it can be a challenge to choose the right words. So, before sending off that message, consider the person grieving and your personal relationship with them. If texting is indeed the best option, just be thoughtful and genuine in what you send. Next, see specific examples of what to say to someone who lost a parent in order to send condolences in that situation.

What to Text Someone Who Is Grieving to Comfort Them