Texting or Calling When A Loved One Dies

Arkansas River

I am writing today from beautiful Tulsa, Oklahoma.

A few years ago, when a friend of mine lost her mother, she would text me. I tried to call, to be more personable, but it seemed right after the loss, all she wanted to do was text. After my recent loss I get it now.

  1. Immediately after the death of a loved one, there are many arrangements to be made. You are very busy and physically and emotionally drained. It is easier to text someone while in a conference with the funeral home director than it is to take a phone call.
  2. It is easier to text and cry at the same time than it is to talk and cry at the same time. I am not embarrassed to cry over the phone. That is not the point. It is just that crying and talking at the same time is not as effective as texting and crying at the same time.
  3. Right after the death of a loved one, you have a lot to process emotionally. You want to be in contact with those you love and you need their support. Texting on your time table allows you to be more in control of the process instead of answering the phone whenever it rings.

So, if I did not answer the phone when you called immediately after my mother died please do not take offense, and please do not think that your thoughtfulness was not appreciated-it was! I would have never known it was better to text than call right after a friend loses a close loved one until it happened to me. I get it now. Chances are though that some people may actually prefer a call instead of a text. If so please comment and share your feelings below.


  1. I can totally understand that as well. We need to be able to reach out, be connected, but for various reasons it may not be a call or even a physical meeting. That is one of the great things I like about texting and social media. You can still maintain the connections you need even when it can’t be direct.

    Sorry, I was not able to attend your mother’s funeral. She was a wonderful lady, and I’m glad I got to know her. God bless you William and your family in your time of loss.


  2. Hi William,

    I can really relate to this. When Wanda died, late one night, we went the following day to make arrangements. By the time I got home, I had 17 messages on my recorder. I returned a few, but didn’t get them all returned until the next day or two. I was so overwhelmed and it was just “too much” to talk to everyone. Plus, some people want to know all the details right then. My advice is if you do call, keep it VERY short – just let the person know you’re thinking of them, love them, etc.

    So, William, I’m thinking of you. I love you. I’m praying for your family.

    Love, Cousin Bear


  3. Well said, William. I agree. Even when you’ve had some time to ‘prepare’ – (how do you ever ‘prepare’ to lose a loved one?) – it is still an overwhelming task to process everything the first few hours, and yes days. And if the loss is sudden, and completely unexpected, it’s even more so. But still so important to know that people care. When we lost our son, Jonathan, it was an experience like nothing else I’ve ever had. Precious in some ways, and heart-rending in many others. I was thankful to get to spend a few minutes with you at the viewing. You are much loved . . . as was your Mom. Keep serving your Best Friend as you have for many years. He is constantly giving you more ways to touch those around you, which you do so well. Thank you, William.

    Love you.



  4. I agree – texting is better because there are too many responsibilities in a very short period of time. When I received a phone call that my husband had died, I left work to go prepare for the immediate family viewing. I received a phone call on the way, wondering when the funeral was – it was less than 20 min. after he died. I made the decision then to prioritize phone calls.


  5. With business or with friends, I don’t expect people to pick up the phone, or look at text messages or emails. I know that people will look at or listen to messages when they can. If I have to know something for some reason, I will try to get the person to answer me, usually using another method other than the original that I used to contact them.

    When someone is going through the death of a loved one or some other trauma, that person needs to live through the process in whatever way they choose, even if it means that may mean not answer phone calls, emails or text messages at the time or ever.


  6. Dear William,
    My sincere thanks for your last two posts especially in the light of your grieving. I have shared them with friends who have gone through or are going through this very testing time. It is sometimes so hard for us to accept God’s Will as opposed to what we want Him to do. I am sure that your mother would be very happy and proud of how you and she are still blessing others in their times of testing. May God continue to bless you in your continuing ministry.


  7. Sorry, I just don’t understand the current process of texting. My phone lives at the charging station except when I leave home, then it goes with me. I can be emailed or receive phone calls or snail mail. Don’t ever text me! (Old-fashioned, I know.) And I am currently grieving. Lost my husband of 57 years just 3 weeks ago. But I have to accept that God’s timing is perfect. Don’t ask me to explain that. I just have to accept it. Call me, email me, send me a card, just don’t text me! It will not be seen.


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