Five Things You Could Say to Someone After Tragedy

Three senseless acts of violence in our country in one week.

Dayton, Ohio…El Paso, Texas…Gilroy, California.

At least 34 lives lost.

We can’t make sense of senselessness except to say it’s a product of evil, of the brokenness of this world in which we live.

 When my husband, Dan, was very sick, toward the end of a four year battle with lung cancer, he chose some verses from the Bible as our family verses.

Lung cancer? Did he smoke?

NOPE. See what I mean? He was the picture of health. It made NO sense.

Dan chose the Bible verses for our family at a point of surrender.

He was surrendering his need to understand, and choosing to trust that God would bring something beautiful out of the pain. Eventually.

“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13, 12-13

Those are the verses. We have them on our headstone. Who already has a headstone? This girl. My kids and I have them tattooed on our arms, too.

That said — there may be no answers this side of Heaven — what do we say to those who are hurting or grieving? Things like, “I’ll pray for you,” or, “God has a plan in this, and He will bring good out of it,” fall short.

That last statement is absolutely TRUE. But it’s really not something to say to someone who is in the depths of despair and loss. That can, and will, come later…but not now.

For now, we find a way to grieve alongside them.

Here are FIVE THINGS you could say to someone who is some serious pain:

  1. This really stinks. Or, this really is awful/heartbreaking/painful. Just call it like it is.
  1. My heart breaks WITH yours. Empathy from others is felt when it’s real. Just sitting in the heartbreak with someone, right where they are, can take the edge off the pain.
  1. You are NOT ALONE. Then, don’t leave them alone…just show up, be present…physically or in calls or even texts that say JUST that: “I am here. I am with you. I’m not leaving you alone in this.”
  1. You are doing GREAT. If possible, be specific: “Look at you. You showered today.”
  1. Nothing. Sometimes saying ABSOLUTELY NOTHING is best. Your presence speaks volumes. 

Thanks SO much for reading. It’s an honor to walk out some life with you.


Latest posts by Kelly Corday (see all)
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
00:00 / 00:00
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x