At a Loss for Words for Words of Loss

“I’m sorry.”

“I’m sorry you have cancer.”

“I’m sorry you lost your job.”

“I’m sorry you’re getting a divorce.”

“I’m sorry your dog died.”

“I’m sorry your son died.”

 I’ve said “I’m sorry” for all those things and more in the past year and every time the expression has felt so inadequate.  My condolences were heartfelt, but I always felt as if my words of sympathy were like a drop in the bucket compared to the great depths of the person’s loss. 

Have you ever felt at a loss for words when faced with responding to someone’s loss?

Has that ever kept you from reaching out to that person?

 I started writing this blog entry thinking I was going to write some profound, meaningful phrases that you could use when talking with (or writing to) a grief-stricken person.  Maybe I will do that sometime in the future, but at this time, I want to urge you to reach out, with whatever words come to you, even just a simple, “I’m sorry.”  Because, sometimes it isn’t so much the words as the act of reaching out that will be of greatest comfort to someone in painful grieving.  Maybe no words at all are needed.  Perhaps a kind, lingering glance or a hug will speak volumes.  Maybe just being there is the greatest expression of sympathy.  So, if you are at a loss for words for words of loss, speak from your soul by being present with the person.


About Diane Windingland
I speak for organizations that want their people to have better, more profitable conversations.

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