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6 Ways To Comfort The Bereaved

How do we comfort the bereaved?

In one form or another, loss happens to all of us. Even though grief is a common denominator, we can wonder how to help someone experiencing dark days. Years ago, within seven months, I lost two aunts, my mother, and my only child. Here are six ways I found brought comfort to me. 

Listen Without Interrupting 

After the unexpected loss of my only child, I felt my heart had shattered into a million pieces. I couldn’t bury the pain, but the pain threatened to bury me. 

I appreciated those who visited or called and listened without interrupting. Talking is an integral part of the grief process.

Allow The Bereaved Person To Cry 

The day after my son died, I walked into his bedroom and stared at his pictures and karate trophies. I fell on his bed, and my chest heaved with each sob. 

The psalmist said, “My tears have been my food day and night,” (Psalm 42:3a NIV). 

We don’t have to be strong or fear God will disown us if we cry. Our tears are so precious that He saves each one in a jar.  

Don’t Preach To The Bereaved

Please don’t tell the bereaved their loved one died because of sin in their life. Don’t say things might have been different if they prayed hard or had enough faith. These are not a comfort to the bereaved.

Remember that you and I are not the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”   

Offer To Run Specific Errands

A friend called and said, “I’ll be there tomorrow at one o’clock to clean your house.” 

With a broken heart, housecleaning didn’t merit a priority – or even a place – on my to-do list. I welcomed her offer.

Ask About Food Allergies And Preferences

I appreciated those who called and said, “I’d like to bring dinner. Do you have allergies or meals you prefer?”

In the first month after my son’s unexpected death, I didn’t think about eating. I felt like a robot. Feeling like a robot, the meals others thoughtfully brought sustained me through the dark days. 

Take Food In Disposable Dishes

The bereaved struggle to shower and dress. When meals were provided in disposable containers, I didn’t worry about breaking or losing the container. Nor could I begin to remember which dish needed to be returned. 

On the other hand, don’t let a lack of disposable containers keep you from bringing comfort in the way of food to the grieving. Put your name on your dishes, and drop by at a later date to check on your friend and collect your dish.  

For more practical ways to comfort the bereaved, get a copy of Moving from Broken to Beautiful through Grief in audio, paperback, or eBook. Learn more about author/speaker Yvonne Ortega at


Meet PeggySue

We’ve heard of soccer moms and stage mothers. I’m a writer who trailers my kids and horses across the nation. My Apple computer, fondly christened MacBeth, is the essential I bring along.