What to Say About A Person at A Funeral?

What to say to the family of someone that died from coronavirus

When you have to say goodbye to a friend, family member, coworker, or generally anybody you know for the last time, it is hard on all involved. So, I am going to help you answer the question What to Say About A Person at A Funeral?


Even if you only knew somebody in passing, the idea that they will not be in your life any longer is a hard concept to grasp. It’s hard for their family too, and everybody feels vulnerable. 


This is why it’s important to find just the right words to say when you are asked to say a few words at somebody’s funeral. You want to bring comfort and maybe even a small smile to the grieving people and celebrate the life of the individual in question. 


What to Say About A Person at A Funeral?


Let’s now have a look at some ideas about what to say about a person at a funeral. 


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I Don’t Know What to Say


It is totally normal, and you should not be ashamed of it, but you should know how to handle it. Everyone handles their grief differently. It can be even harder when you are trying to comfort a grieving friend or family member.


Sometimes, you do not have to say anything at all. The important thing is to be a good listener. As you approach the grieving family members, express your condolences and offer a hug or handshake, if appropriate. 


The grieving person may begin to talk and express their feelings, but if not, remind them you are here if they need your help. 


One important bit of etiquette is to avoid phrases that are overplayed and cliche. Saying, “They are in a much better place,” is often seen as patronizing. Usually, the individual feels that their family or friend’s place is here on Earth, not in the afterlife.


Instead, speak with your heart. It is okay to express emotions. It is a hard time for all involved.


Good Phrases to Help Comfort Grieving People



  • Mr. Charles was a wonderful husband and a great teacher. 
  • If you need somebody to talk to, you can call me anytime. 
  • I will pray for you and your family. 
  • I have only happy memories of your mom. She was a great woman and so strong. 
  • We are so fortunate to have known your uncle. 


Why Use These for What to Say About A Person at A Funeral? 


Here are a few reasons as to why these make great things to say:


  • They Show You Care


To offer somebody an ear for listening or a shoulder to cry on is a massive gesture of kindness. The loved ones know in their heart that nothing will bring back their loved one, but to have somebody who can patiently listen and be polite about it is a source of comfort and relief.


  • They Celebrate the Deceased


To call somebody a “wonderful husband” or a “great teacher” honors their livelihood and family. It reminds the grieving family that they had a great person in their life, and other people saw how great of a person they were, too. It may even lead to a smile as the family remembers what their loved one did in life. 


  • They Are Concise


The grieving family and friends may not be in the mood to hear a long conversation from you. With these short and simple phrases, you can say what needs to be said, and if the others want to talk more, they can. 


What to Say About A Person at A Funeral?


Tell A Funny or Interesting Anecdote


Telling a grieving friend or family member a positive anecdote about their lost loved one is a great way to celebrate the life of the family member and may also help them laugh or smile a little bit. 


You can tell them something funny that happened between you and your loved one, or you can tell them something their loved one shared with you. 


These remind the grievers that the individual in question lived a beautiful and full life and that their loved one had an impact on the people around them in a positive way.


And best of all, you might even be telling a story the person grieving did not know, which helps them establish a new memory about their lost loved one. 


Why Tell A Positive Anecdote? 


Here are some reasons that telling a beautiful story is a good idea:


  • You Can Lift the Mood


Funerals are grim events. Everyone is upset and crying. The mood is somber, and people seem to be going through the motions – politely shaking hands and saying they are sorry. 


It is not wrong by any means, but most people would be okay with some laughter provided it is appropriate. Telling a funny story about something your family member did can make everyone feel better.


  • You Can Teach Something Good


Chances are, the person you are grieving taught you something important. Perhaps your grandfather always taught you to turn down the radio at railroad crossings, and it once saved your life. 


Probably your auntie was the one who taught you how to make the best chocolate cake ever. No matter what it was, or no matter how small, a positive lesson the person you are grieving taught you is great to talk about with others.


  • You Open Up Positive Conversation


Sharing such a story with a grieving friend or family member takes their mind from the fact that their loved one is gone to a place where their loved one lives on. 


Perhaps after talking about the delicious chocolate cake Aunt Edna made, it leads into a fun conversation about how everybody would always go back for seconds and what a skilled cook she was. Instead of focusing on the loss, you focus on the beautiful things that the person did in life.



What to Avoid Saying


There are a few phrases and actions that should be avoided. Do not call attention to yourself in any way; dress conservatively and do not gossip or joke around. Be sure you avoid profanity and harsh language. 


Never joke around about the death of the individual. Even though you may think you know their sense of humor, it is best to be cautious. 


Here are a few things you should never say at a funeral


  • Now you can get on with your life. 
  • Crying isn’t going to help. 
  • You have to be strong for them. 
  • At least he died at an old age and lived a full life. 


Why Should You Avoid Saying This About A Person at Their Funeral?


  • These Words Are Insensitive


These phrases come off as discounting the feelings of grieving people. Remember, this person is grappling with the reality they will never see their loved one in this life ever again. It is a hard thing to cope with, and you have to be understanding of their grief.



  • They Come Off as Rude


Although you didn’t intend to be rude, these phrases sound quite abrasive. Remember, friends and family, are dealing with a horrible loss, and have many thoughts going through their mind. Everyone deals with grief differently, and these phrases could end up making somebody angry or upset. 


  • They Minimize the Situation


It is a huge loss for everyone involved. It is not the loss of a pet or a beloved family home. It is a human being that will no longer be around for holidays, vacations, or birthdays, even for simple chats over coffee. Be mindful of this.




Knowing polite and helpful phrases for a funeral is critical in getting through your grief. Be a good listener, speak when appropriate, and you will bring comfort to all involved.


Michael Grover

Following the death of my Mother, I decided to make this website. I found it difficult at the time to express the correct words to say at the service. However, I stumbled across an immediate download (available here) that enabled me to find truly memorable words.

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