What to say to someone who has lost a child

I know so many don’t know what to say to those who’ve suffered a loss, particularly that of a child and in the case of suicide.

Unfortunately, I can check both those boxes.

Suggestions on what to say

I made a pact to welcome any and all comments and never pass judgement on what someone has asked or said because it takes guts to speak up. After so many years of suffering in silence since he had such stigmatized illnesses, it’s a relief to let it out.

Figuring out what someone else in the same shoes wants is tough.

If you have a story about the lost loved one, share it. There are no new memories so those who have suffered a loss want to know more about the person they lost. I don’t know anyone who would not welcome a story about their loved one so that one is “safe”.

A hug, by the way, is saying something. It does not have to be words. Listening and nodding your head is saying something. Crying with that person is saying something. Can I walk your dog, is saying something.

You can say that you are thinking about someone’s loss and that you are struggling with what to say. That’s OK, too.

You can use a cliche phrase. It’s speaking up and you are doing the best you can. Even when I reach out, I don’t have the magic words and I’ve been on both sides of this.

Thank you all for your continued support. It does help.

what to say to someone who lost a child
What to say to someone who lost a child

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked mental health speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational mental health keynotes, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, anxiety, coping strategies/resilience, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

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