One Thing You Shouldn’t Say When a Friend’s Mom Dies


I often go for articles that are titled like this one. You know, pieces that reveal the top things you should never, ever say in various life situations. And here you are, reading this. Aren’t you curious about the one thing you shouldn’t say when a friend’s mom dies? 

Why are we drawn to these kinds of posts? 

For me, it’s that I don’t want to offend someone (and embarrass myself ) by saying the wrong thing. On top of that, I also want to know exactly what to say. There have been times over the years when I should have reached out to friends and haven’t. The reason? I didn’t know what to say or if it was my place to say anything at all. 

I gravitate to pieces like this because I want to identify the “wrong things” to say, flag them in my memory, and then line up the “right words” for future use.  

However, not long ago I had a major life experience that really kicked me upside the head and changed my perspective on this whole thing.

On December 26, 2017, my Mom died. 

It’s excruciating to experience the death of a parent. And it was brutal losing my Mom over Christmas. How can that even happen? It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.

Instead of spending the last days of December lounging around in comfy clothes, watching movies and relaxing by the fireplace, my Dad, siblings and I planned, and then attended, my Mom’s wake, funeral Mass and burial. And then we had to figure out how to get back into our day-to-day lives without her here. 

I remember so many details from that time. 

I remember who I talked to at the wake.
I remember who came to the funeral.
I remember the phone calls.
I remember the texts.
I remember the Facebook comments and DMs.
I remember the emails.
I remember the flowers.
I remember the notes.

But you know what? I don’t remember what any one person said. For someone who had been so hung up on identifying the right and wrong things to say in situations, I was shocked to learn that when someone’s intentions are good, it doesn’t really matter what specific words are used! However it’s said, that underlying message of love and support will always be loud and clear. 

What is the one thing you shouldn’t say when a friend’s mom dies?

It turns out, the one thing you shouldn’t say when a friend’s mom dies is nothing. So, reach out. Make the call. Write the card. Type the text. Just say something.


  1. I just lost my mom last week and this is so true. The outpouring of love and support is helping me immensely.
    I’m so sorry you went through this, and thank you for sharing

    • I’m so sorry for your loss, Lee. It’s incredibly tough, but you will find your way, especially with the support of the people around you! Take it one day at a time. ~Katie

  2. Katie,

    I love reading this. I was friends with your sister Colleen and was with her the day you were born. I still remember your mom, her smile and kind heart.

    I lost my mother when I was a junior in college (Bentley in Waltham). I remember going back to school after the services in NJ and was so hurt by the people who just didn’t say anything cause they didn’t know what to say. I know now they were “young and immature” but at the time it really bothered me.

    Stay well and keep up the good work!

    Colleen (Kupcho) Tocci

  3. Awesome and needed article! I am so very proud of you ! Continue to great things and share yourself with the world. Remember how special you are and how much your Mom loved you!

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