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Words of Sympathy for the Loss of a Grown Son

Gabrielle Applebury
Man comforting woman

Experiencing the loss of a grown child can feel extremely painful and traumatizing to the surviving family members. If you know someone who has lost their adult child, there are a few tips to keep in mind when reaching out to them.

What Do You Say to Someone Who Has Lost Their Son?

It can feel overwhelming at first to try to figure what to say in a sensitive and caring way to someone who has lost their adult son. Take your time to think about what words of sympathy are appropriate given the specific situation, as well as your level of closeness with the individual and/or family in mourning. You can consider saying:

  • "Your son had such an incredible personality and spirit, and we will all miss him very much. We are thinking of you during this time and are here to support you in any way you'd like."
  • "I am saddened to hear of the passing of your son. He was loved by many and will be greatly missed."
senior ladies supporting one another
  • "Although I didn't know your son well, I have only heard incredible things about his generosity and kindness towards others. I am thinking of you during this difficult time."
  • "It was truly an honor to be your son's friend, and I will miss him every day."
Women supporting each other
  • "I feel truly lucky that I was able to have as much time as I did with your son, and I will always cherish those special memories. "I am here for you at any time and would like to support you in whatever way you are comfortable with."

What to Write a Mother (or Father) Who Has Lost Her Son

Knowing what to say or write to a mother or father who have lost an adult child may feel daunting. Offer comforting words for a mother or father who have experienced this type of loss:

  • "The mother-son bond (or father-son) is something truly special and I know just how close you were with (insert deceased individual's name). I am here for you during this time and want to express my deepest condolences for your loss."
  • "My heart is heavy knowing that your son is no longer with us."
  • "I know how incredible your relationship was with your son and I am beyond saddened knowing that he has passed away. Know that he will be missed by many and I am here for you. I would like to pick up your weekly groceries for you if you're comfortable with me doing so."

What Can I Say Instead of Sorry For Your Loss?

Instead of saying sorry for your loss, you can consider saying:

  • "I want to express my deepest condolences for the loss of your son."
Woman comfort upset mom at home
  • "I am saddened to hear about the passing of (insert deceased individual's name)."
  • "My heart aches knowing about the recent passing of your son."
Man support upset elderly father
  • "I'm here for you and I love you."
  • "My heart breaks knowing that (insert deceased individual's name) has passed on."
  • (Insert deceased individual's name) touched so many lives and will be deeply missed by many."

What to Say to a Grieving Family

A family who has lost their adult son may experience disenfranchised grief, on top of possibly feeling guilty for outliving them. Being kind and thoughtful about what you say, as well as supporting them as they experience the grieving process, can be really helpful. You can consider saying:

  • "I know how difficult the loss of (insert deceased individual's name) has been for your family. I would love to drop off some dinner for you this week if you're comfortable with that."
  • "It's no surprise that (insert deceased individual's name) came from such an incredible family. You are all so kind, compassionate, and warm, and I feel lucky to have known (insert deceased individual's name). I am here for all of you during this time."
  • "I will forever remember spending time with (insert deceased individual's name) and you all every (insert day, holiday, or event) and jus having the best time together. I am so grateful for these shared memories and want you all to know how much I love you and how deeply (insert deceased individual's name) will be missed.

Words of Condolence Letter for Someone Who Just Lost a Son

Writing a condolence letter is a thoughtful way to show someone that you are thinking of them during this incredibly difficult time. You can consider:

  • Beginning with a simple sentiment regarding how sorry you are to hear of their recent loss.
  • Share a special memory of the deceased individual such as, "Your son was a kind and caring individual, and I will never forget the time he (insert favorite memory)."
  • Offer your support and help by saying, "During this difficult time, I'd like to (insert ways you'd like to help)."
  • End the letter be reiterating your support by saying, "Please know that I am here for you."

Religious Words of Sympathy for the Loss of a Grown Son

While religion may be a comfort to some, others may find some sentiments offensive and/or insensitive. If you are unsure of how your religious words of sympathy will come across to those in mourning, it's best to avoid saying them. However, if you know that those in mourning have deep religious ties and often speak of their religious beliefs freely, you can consider offering religious words of sympathy.

Words of Condolence Quotes

Condolence quotes, otherwise known as bereavement verses, can be written in a condolence letter or sympathy card, as well as said to those in mourning in person. Before deciding which condolence quotes to use, consider your audience. Condolence quotes can help you if you are experiencing a loss for words for your loved one, or can be added in to existing sympathy cards or letters.

What to Avoid Saying

The loss of grown son may be a very intense time for those in mourning. It's important to be mindful of what you say to those in the midst of grieving. Try to avoid saying:

  • Avoid saying anything isolating such as, "I can't imagine going through what you're going through."
  • Avoid saying you understand their experience as this shifts the focus to you and can bring up feelings of defensiveness in them.
  • Avoid speaking about yourself and focus on their experience, even if you've been through something similar.
  • Don't post anything publicly on social media as this may not be something that individuals in the family are comfortable with, and it can be seen as less personal.
  • Try to avoid cliches and religious sayings, especially if the family isn't religious.
  • Try not to compare their situation to others as this can invalidate their own experience.

Sympathy Messages for the Loss of an Adult Child

Losing an adult son can bring up complex feelings for the family members who are mourning. Being supportive, focusing on their experience with this loss, and saying something thoughtful can be incredibly helpful and meaningful to those in the midst of grieving the loss of their adult child.

Words of Sympathy for the Loss of a Grown Son