It's often hard to know just what to say to someone who is grieving. The first step is not to think you must say something to cheer them up. It's perfectly normal for grieving people to feel sad, angry, numb, scared, or lonely.
Saying something like, ‘tell me how you’re feeling’ is simple, but can mean so much to someone who’s grieving. They often just need time to tell their story, someone to talk to and someone who'll let them share their feelings and memories.
allow the person to cry and show how they feel, as grief is the same, although we all feel it differently - men and women, boys and girls, young and old.
say, ‘be brave’ or ‘be strong’, as this will encourage grieving people to bottle up their feelings.
talk about the person who has died (cultural considerations here). Say their name and be willing to hear about the circumstances of the death. This all helps the reality of the loss to sink in, which is an important part of grieving.
say, ‘I know how you feel’ because we can never know exactly how they feel or fully understand all the things that are part of someone else's grief. Even if you have experienced loss yourself.
offer practical help such as buying groceries, minding children, mowing lawns, doing the ironing or cooking meals - not for the days just after the death, but in the months ahead, as this is when the real effects of the death are often being felt.
forget special days like birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc. These can be very lonely when someone special has died. A card or phone call on a day like this could be just what the person needs at that time.