170 Questions to Ask Someone Who Lost a Loved One

Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things to go through. And sometimes words fail us when we try to comfort someone going through it. You want to be there for them, but how? Asking the right questions can open the door to healing talks and show that you genuinely care.

Here’s a list of questions to help your friend open up, feel supported, and maybe even start healing.

Understanding Their Emotional State

  1. How are you feeling today?
  2. What emotions are you dealing with most often?
  3. Is there a specific time of day when you feel most emotional?
  4. Do you have moments when it all feels too much to handle?
  5. Is there anything that’s giving you comfort right now?
  6. Are you getting enough sleep?
  7. Do you want to talk about it, or would you rather not?
  8. Are you keeping busy, or do you need more downtime?
  9. How are you handling moments when you’re alone?
  10. Are certain places or things triggering emotions for you?
  11. Are you able to focus on tasks and responsibilities?
  12. Have you been eating okay?
  13. Is it hard for you to talk to other people about this?
  14. How are you coping when people ask how you’re doing?
  15. Is there anything you wish people knew about what you’re going through?
  16. How is your family handling this?
  17. Do you have good moments amid the sadness?
  18. Are you crying often?
  19. Do you feel lost or confused?
  20. Do you feel like you can express your feelings openly?
  21. Are you having trouble making decisions?
  22. Are you avoiding anything that reminds you of your loved one?
  23. How are your energy levels?
  24. How are you balancing work and grieving?
  25. Do you get angry or frustrated easily?
  26. Are you worried about anything specific?
  27. Is there a feeling you can’t shake off?
  28. Are you finding comfort in a particular activity or thing?
  29. Are there days when you feel somewhat normal, and does that worry you?
  30. Is there something that makes you feel a tiny bit better, even for a moment?
  31. How are you handling moments of intense sadness?
  32. Do you sometimes feel numb or disconnected?
  33. Are you experiencing mood swings more frequently?
  34. Do you have fears or anxieties that have gotten worse?
  35. Are you struggling to feel hopeful about anything?
  36. Do you feel more stressed or overwhelmed by small things lately?
  37. Do you feel isolated?
  38. Do you have people you can talk to openly?
  39. Are you open to seeking professional help?
  40. Are you experiencing guilt or regret?

Expressing Sympathy and Support

  1. How are you feeling today?
  2. How can I make this time even a little bit easier for you?
  3. Is there a type of support you wish people offered more of?
  4. What’s a comfort food or meal I can bring over for you?
  5. Can I help with everyday tasks like grocery shopping or cleaning?
  6. Have you found any particular way of coping that you find comforting?
  7. Is there any way I can help with funeral or memorial arrangements?
  8. How can I be there for you in a way that truly helps?
  9. Would you like to talk about what you’re going through, or would you prefer quiet company?
  10. Do you find comfort in sharing stories about your loved one, or would you rather not?
  11. Is there any specific talk or discussion you find less comforting right now?
  12. If you’d like, can we create a small memorial together for your loved one?
  13. Do you need a distraction, like a walk or a movie night, or do you prefer solitude?
  14. Would you like to just share silence with someone keeping you company?
  15. Have people been supportive in the way you needed?
  16. Do you have someone who understands what you’re going through, or would you like me to help find support groups?
  17. Are there moments when you feel a need to talk late at night or early in the morning?
  18. Is music or silence more comforting for you right now?
  19. Would a small gesture of remembrance be comforting, like lighting a candle or playing their favorite song?
  20. Is it helpful to hear others’ stories of loss and how they coped, or is it overwhelming?

Remembering the Loved One

  1. What’s one of your favorite memories with your loved one that brings you joy when you think about it?
  2. Can you share a story about your loved one that always makes you smile?
  3. What were some of the things your loved one really enjoyed doing?
  4. Was there a particular place your loved one found peaceful or enjoyable?
  5. What’s something about your loved one that not many people know?
  6. What’s one thing about your loved one that you hope everyone remembers?
  7. How would you describe your loved one’s personality to someone who never had the chance to meet them?
  8. Can you tell me about a time your loved one really helped or supported you?
  9. What were your loved one’s dreams or aspirations?
  10. Is there a habit or saying your loved one had that you remember fondly?
  11. What’s a lesson your loved one taught you that you’ll always carry with you?
  12. How did you and your loved one like to spend time together?
  13. Did your loved one have a favorite book, movie, or song that was special to them?
  14. What were your loved one’s favorite ways to relax or unwind?
  15. Can you share an instance where your loved one showed great courage or kindness?
  16. What is something your loved one was really passionate about?
  17. How did your loved one react in funny or unexpected situations?
  18. Did your loved one have any traditions they cherished or created that you’d like to continue?
  19. What’s something your loved one always wanted to do but never got the chance to do?
  20. How did your loved one make those around them feel special?
  21. What was your loved one’s favorite way to celebrate their birthday or a holiday?
  22. Did your loved one have a favorite meal or delicacy they couldn’t get enough of?
  23. Can you think of a moment with your loved one that took your breath away?
  24. What was your loved one’s philosophy on life or a piece of advice they often gave?
  25. How did your loved one face challenges or obstacles in their life?

Offering Practical Help

  1. Can I take any immediate tasks or errands from your plate right now?
  2. Do you need help with any household chores or maintenance issues?
  3. Can I assist with meal planning or preparation for the next few days?
  4. Is there any paperwork or phone calls I can help manage for you?
  5. Would you like me to accompany you to any appointments or meetings?
  6. Is there something specific I can do to help with the memorial service or funeral arrangements?
  7. Can I help reach out to others to inform them or organize support?
  8. Do you need someone to watch over pets or care for plants for a while?
  9. Are there children or dependents that I can help look after or entertain?
  10. Can I offer transportation for any needs you might have?
  11. Would it be helpful if I set up a schedule for friends to bring meals over?
  12. Is there a particular errand that feels too overwhelming that I can take care of?
  13. Would setting up a fundraising or donation drive in memory of your loved one be something you’d find supportive?
  14. Do you require assistance in managing social media or digital accounts?
  15. Can I help with organizing or cleaning certain areas that might bring you peace?
  16. Is there something your loved one left incomplete that I can help finish?
  17. Would you like someone to briefly take care of bill payments or financial obligations?
  18. Are there any specific supplies or groceries you need to be restocked?
  19. Can I help in planning or preparing for any upcoming holidays or anniversaries?
  20. Do you need assistance with laundry or other basic household upkeep?
  21. Can I help field phone calls or visitors if it’s too overwhelming for you?
  22. Do you need support navigating insurance or legal matters relating to your loved one?
  23. Is there any other task, no matter how small, that I can assist with to ease your burden?
  24. Can I help you write thank-you notes or other correspondence?
  25. Do you need assistance with financial planning or budgeting?
  26. Would you like me to go with you to religious services or gatherings?
  27. Can I help you prepare for any upcoming events, like birthdays or holidays?
  28. Would you appreciate reminders for taking medications?
  29. Can I help you manage incoming donations or gifts?
  30. Can I help you reorganize a room or space in your house?

Encouraging Expression of Feelings

  1. Would you like to share how you’re feeling right now, with no judgment or advice, just listening?
  2. Is there a feeling or thought about your loss that’s been challenging to express?
  3. How has your understanding of grief or loss changed since your loved one passed away?
  4. Do you find certain times of the day or specific activities harder since your loss?
  5. Is there something you wish you could have said to your loved one before they passed?
  6. How do you hope to keep your loved one’s memory alive in your heart and actions?
  7. Are there ways you’ve found helpful coping with your grief that you’d like to share?
  8. Is there a particular aspect of grieving that you find people often misunderstand?
  9. Have you discovered any books, music, or art that speak to your journey of grief?
  10. Do you feel like your grief has changed how you view or approach life?
  11. What has been the most surprising aspect of your grief experience?
  12. Is there a fear or worry related to your loss that you feel comfortable sharing?
  13. How do you find strength on particularly tough days?
  14. Is there anything about your loved one’s passing that you find people shy away from but you wish they’d acknowledge?
  15. Have you had dreams about your loved one, and would you like to share them?
  16. Is there a piece of advice or comfort you’ve received that has made a difference for you?
  17. How has your relationship with others changed since losing your loved one?
  18. Is there an emotion or reaction you’ve experienced with your grief that surprised you?
  19. Do you find certain seasons or holidays trigger memories or feelings about your loved one?
  20. What do you find the most challenging about communicating your grief to others?
  21. Have you considered joining a support group or seeking grief counseling, and what are your thoughts on that?
  22. Is there a particular ritual or activity you’ve found comforting in your grief?
  23. Would you like to explore creative expressions of your grief, like writing, art, or music?
  24. How do you wish people would talk about or treat the topic of grief and loss?
  25. Are there questions you find yourself asking over and over again?
  26. Do you think other people in your life understand what you’re going through?
  27. Are you scared about what life will look like without them?
  28. Are you finding it hard to do things that used to bring you joy?
  29. Is there something you wish you could have done differently?
  30. Do you find yourself talking to them in your thoughts?
  31. Are you finding it tough to focus on work or daily tasks?
  32. Are you afraid of breaking down in public or at unexpected times?
  33. Do you have to explain your loss to people frequently?
  34. Are you finding it hard to eat or maintain an appetite?
  35. Is there something that has helped you make sense of this loss?

Checking In Over Time

  1. How have you been feeling these past few days or weeks?
  2. Has there been any change in what you need or how you’re coping?
  3. Can I check in with you regularly, and what frequency would you be comfortable with?
  4. Are there upcoming dates or anniversaries that you’re particularly concerned about?
  5. What’s been a small victory or positive moment for you lately?
  6. Is there something coming up that you’re feeling apprehensive about, and how can I support you through it?
  7. Have your needs for support or assistance changed in any way?
  8. Is there a specific time of day or week when a check-in would be most helpful for you?
  9. Have you found any new hobbies or interests that offer some distraction or comfort?
  10. What signs should I look for that indicate you need more support?
  11. Are you finding certain routines or activities helpful in creating a sense of normalcy?
  12. Has your sense of grief or loss evolved in any way since we last spoke?
  13. Are there new aspects of your grief or loss that you feel ready to talk about?
  14. Do you feel like you’re making progress in your grief journey, and what does that look like for you?
  15. Would you like me to remind you of support group meetings or counseling appointments?
  16. Are there new memories of your loved one you’ve remembered and wish to share?
  17. Do you find yourself needing more solitude or more company lately?
  18. Are there tasks that have become easier or harder as time has passed?
  19. How are you managing moments of joy or happiness amidst your grief?
  20. Is there anything specific I can do to make regular check-ins more helpful or comforting for you?

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I support someone who is grieving?

Supporting someone who’s hurting is tough, but you can make a big difference just by being there for them.

Listen: Sometimes, the best thing to do is just listen.
Offer help: Like cooking a meal or running errands.
Check-in: A text or a call can go a long way.

Don’t say stuff like “They’re in a better place” unless you’re sure it’ll help. Sometimes, it can make people feel worse.

What if the grieving person is not ready to discuss their loss?

Every person deals with grief differently and at their own pace. Be understanding and patient, and respect their process. Non-verbal support or written messages can also be a powerful way to show you’re there for them until they’re ready to talk.

What should one not say or do when talking to someone who lost a loved one?

What NOT to say:

“I know how you feel.”: Even if you’ve been through a similar loss, everyone’s grief is unique. Saying you know how they feel might come off as dismissive.

“At least they lived a long life.”: This tries to put a “positive” spin on the loss but often misses the point that the loved one is still gone.

“They’re in a better place.”: This can be comforting for some, but not everyone shares the same spiritual views.

“It’s time to move on.”: Grieving doesn’t have a set timeline. Telling someone to “move on” can feel like rushing them.

“Let me know if you need anything.”: This is well-intentioned but vague. Offering specific help (“Can I bring you dinner tomorrow?”) is usually more helpful.

What NOT to do:

Avoid them: Even if you’re uncomfortable, avoiding the person can make them feel isolated.

Push them to open up: If they want to talk, they will. Don’t force the conversation toward their feelings about the deceased.

Make it about you: It’s not the time to share your own long stories of grief or loss unless they specifically ask for it.

Offer unwanted advice: Phrases like “You should” or “You will” often don’t help and can feel like you’re telling them how to feel.

Compare Losses: Saying something like, “I lost my dog last year, so I know how you feel,” can be insensitive.

Remember, sometimes the best thing you can do is simply be there, offer a listening ear, and provide quiet support.

Final Thoughts

Talking about loss is never easy. But the power of a caring question can make all the difference. You don’t have to be a poet or a therapist to help someone through a hard time. Sometimes, just being there to listen is enough. 

So, the next time you’re wondering how to support someone grieving, come back to this list. And remember, everyone’s journey through loss is unique, so take your cues from them and offer your support in a way that feels true to your relationship.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

As you found this post useful...

Share it on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Photo of author

Robby is a multimedia editor at UpJourney with a journalism and communications background.

When she's not working, Robby transforms into an introverted art lover who indulges in her love for sports, learning new things, and sipping her favorite soda. She also enjoys unwinding with feel-good movies, books, and video games. She's also a proud pet parent to her beloved dog, Dustin.