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10 Things to Say to the Sick or Dying

It’s hard to know what to say to someone sick

As someone who’s lived through a cancer diagnosis, I saw first-hand how people struggle with things to say to the sick or dying.

A little bit of kindness and compassion can go a long way for anyone, but especially someone who’s dealing with a serious medical crisis.

Decide you want to be supportive

Understandably, healthy friends or family members might be uncomfortable facing the illness of a loved one. But don’t give in to your fears and say or do nothing.

Instead, muster up your courage and vow to be supportive.

Keep things light and simple

Your sick loved one probably spends a significant amount of time mentally struggling with their condition. You can be a supportive diversion while acknowledging their struggle and without dragging the person down further.

The following ice-breakers will help you get started. The suggestions are light and simple but will show your care and concern.

Things to say to a sick person

Try out these all-purpose “I care” statements and actions:

1. “I’m really sorry this is happening to you.”

2. “I’m sorry you’re feeling so [fill in the blank].” Ideas: crappy, sick, nauseous, scared – whatever they’ve described they’re feeling.

3. “If you’re feeling up to it, I’d love to treat you to lunch.”

4. “I’d be happy to give you a ride to the doctor. Can I bring you to your next appointment?”

5. “I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately.”

6. “I’ve been praying for you.”

7. “I love your [fill in the blank].” Ideas: smile, spirit, determination, cancer turbans, toenail polish – ANYTHING!

8. “You’ve always been [fill in the blank] to me.” Ideas: an inspiration, a role model, a best friend, an ideal mom, the best cook, the funniest person, very special – ANYTHING!

9. “I love you!” [Sometimes these three little words are the most important ones.]

10. Send a Thinking of You card.

11. Bonus: Give a hug, hold a hand, or touch their shoulder. Physical touch has amazing power. Use it depending on the nature of your relationship and the nature of their illness.

Say anything kind and genuine

Sometimes when people are sick, we tend to say anything to help brighten their spirits. Resist the urge to say or do anything that isn’t genuine.

Don’t tell someone you’ll pray for them if you won’t. Don’t tell someone you’ve always admired them if you haven’t. You can say or do plenty of genuine kind and caring things.

You can never go wrong being supportive or thoughtful toward the sick and dying.

More Christian Inspiration

Do you or your sick friend need some Christian inspiration to help you through? You might enjoy these book reviews:

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2 thoughts on “10 Things to Say to the Sick or Dying”

  1. “I’m sorry you’re feeling so crappy.” sounds thoughtful with a pinch of humor to hopefully lighten up the mood. It is a difficult task when talking to people who are sick, dying, or have actually lost someone. I’m always a loss for words because I don’t what to say. Thanks for the tips.

    1. Thank you, Gilberto! You have validated the reason for this post. It is a difficult situation but I hope this will inspire you to say something supportive in the future. Doing it will probably make your heart feel good and I guarantee it will be meaningful to your recipient. <3

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