Do You Say Dead, Passed, Made His Transition, Lost or ... ???

I posted this question on Facebook.  I find the responses fascinating and hope you do, too.  How amazing to see, first hand, that what brings one person peace and comfort ... triggers the opposite response in another person.  What a delicate role we take on when we accompany someone who is learning to live with the death of someone they love.

Here’s my original post.  The responses I received from people follow.

More and more it seems like "we" are using the words "passed" or "passed away" when we talk about a person that has died. Rather than say he/she died ... I'm hearing "My mom passed." "Dad passed away." I'm noticing it in the newspaper, on television and in conversations with friends. Have you noticed this, too? Is a subtle shift occurring? What words do you use when you talk about the person you love that "left his/her body?"

Cathy Farrar passed away

Melody Ridgeway Buckman Passed away..the word dead or died is just so harsh :(

Anna K. Bennett I generally say that my girls died. Yes it is harsh, but death is just that. To me, using a gentler term doesn't make death any less final or any less painful for those left behind.

Becky Seiter Shaffer My response usually varies. I will often say, “_____died.” However, I prefer “____is no longer with us in the physical sense.” I guess in some way it allows me to let the other person know that I feel those people that I am missing are still with me in spirit.

Tom Zuba Do you think people are starting to say "passed" and "passed away" because it is not as harsh sounding - doesn't have quite the sting - as "died" or "is dead?" Or is there something more going on here? To me, "passed" suggests/implies that the person had "passed over" to the other side. "Passed" seems to acknowledge and afterlife.


Heather Fettig Dead, died, death. I never say any other fluffy term that seems to just cause those around us to wave off our losses as less significant and less real. We also have a 4 year old daughter and we have to be very blunt with how we explain her brothers deaths to understand the finality of it. Fearing saying the word doesn't make the fact that someone we love died and it increases the stigma around death, a huge part of life.

Melody Ridgeway Buckman I do believe there is an afterlife I feel my daughter around me all the time..

Nancy Crosley I use the word passed. I have tried using the word died but for some reason it gives me pain to do so. I Feel died, death feel so final. It may be crazy but it's how I feel.

Susan Bazin Passed over because the essence of who we really are never dies. Love never dies! We are love and love passes over into our real home the spirit world but lives on forever. ♥

Kathy Blue Quindoza At first I used to say" lost". Then I became aware of what I was saying (thanks to u TZ :)) and I changed my words to passed over passed away. Not to be cushy...but because it is the way I feel. I feel they are not dead in the final sense....I feel they have just is eternal. So I hesitate to say died... Yes the body is dead. But life is eternal. Love is eternal. I guess I am looking at the big picture when I am speaking and not just the human experience picture of it all. Transitioned is another word I use often.


Louise Nelson Crist I say "went HOME" because my loved ones have gone HOME...back to God, to our eternal Home, where they wait for us to arrive so they can show us our new rooms!

Anna K. Bennett I do sometimes say that they crossed over to the spirit world. But for some reason "passed" just feels very inaccurate to me.

Tom Zuba Of course, there is no right way or no wrong way ... nor is there a better way or best way. There is YOUR way. And the reality is that YOUR way may change over time as you change. For those who haven't read it, here is a link to my blog on using the words "lost" and "loss." — Rethinking lost and loss

Nila Stone Dutcher All of the above. Passed =meaning from earthly body to heavenly body. From this world to the next.

Kathy Nearing I Hate the word died or death. Passed or spread their wings is much better. Keeps us looking beyond the d word

Sue Wollin I guess I've used all of them, but I try more to NOT use the words "died", "dead", because I hope with all my heart & soul that we do NOT really ever Die...& those words make me feel like "thats the end" :(


Susan Sparkowski Hurley I say "crossed over" as well as saying died. Both seem accurate to me.

Correia Waterhouse Edwards The destruction of the flesh is NOT the end to life!! Dead or died suggest in our minds as no more. Mason still lives.

Susan Sparkowski Hurley The body dies, the spirit crosses over.

Teresa Molitor Luttrell I used the 'dead' word a lot. Even though I believe the soul is eternal, my son's body was dead and knew I needed to ground myself in that new day to day reality, simply because it felt so impossible. Now I tend to say passed, perhaps because I've fully accepted the physical death of his body and life as I knew it.

Tina N' Russ Kitts I always used to say 'died' and then when I went to live in FL we used the word 'passed' there and I like that better. It feels easier to use that word. Same as I hated saying 'coffin' and my mother-in-law used the word 'casket' and I liked that better and found it 'easier' to say! ♥

Tina N' Russ Kitts I love the way you put that Susan Bazin. ♥

Tom Zuba Teresa Molitor Luttrell ~ do you remember how long it took till you "fully accepted the physical death of his body and life as I knew it?" For me ... fully grasping the finality of my daughter Erin's death was pivotal for my healing occur, and I think it may have taken 2 years ... much longer than I ever imagined. It was impossible (almost) for my to take in the "finality" of her death ... in the sense that I would never see her physically again here on earth. I simply could not grasp that. But once I did ... boy did I ever. And I found that with Trici's death and Rory's death ... I did NOT have to relearn that. Dead was dead. I only needed to learn that once.


Pat Barrentine I think the increasing use of "passed" is the result of a growing consciousness that it is only the body that "dies" and that the spirit/soul continues on another level of vibration. It's like turning the dial on a radio to another channel. Energy cannot not be destroyed, but it can change form; water to steam.

Michelle Effron Miller There is no word - died, passed, lost - that can ever begin to describe your loved ones's absence from his life and yours. It's hard for people to communicate this profoundly tragic experience in terms of language alone. This is where words end and compassion takes over. To feel someone's pain and to be there for them, to listen and assure, is the best gift of all. These acts far surpass any textual communication.

D. Lisa West Passed over is my favorite. Died seems so blunt compared to that.

Sue Gaff I say died because I was with him when he died, and I saw that it was peaceful and he DID die....nothing takes the harshness away.

Pamela Martin I say died, as in this world.

Denise Roloff I can not say the word DIED.

Debbie Kupfer-Tatro it`s easier to say....

Debbie Czajka Demauro I say "lost", because that's how I feel!

Wild Rose Ranch In conversation I usually say died. And then I always say "But I know where he is".

Paula Smith I usually say died because you are either alive or dead...and she isn't alive anymore as much as I want to change it.


Kathie Pitello Prchal I think it is easier to accept the transition Deb. it's too hard to accept they are really gone from our world :(

Tami Isabella Guilbert-Watchurst I say the word died. It's definitive and reflects the significance of the pain my sister and mother suffered while fighting for their lives against the Beast we call Cancer. It also reflects the significance of the grief that consumed me when the Beast finally won.

Diane Panasci James When someone asked me how many kids I have, I say, "Two live with me, and one lives with Jesus."

Rick Colby Passed OVER. Transitioned to the next phase of existence. Launched.

Tina N' Russ Kitts Diane, I don't know what to say anymore when people ask me how many children I have, I had three, now I have two but hate saying "well I had three and now I have two" so I think I am just going to carry on saying three, as I still have three, it's just like you say, two living and one in heaven!! ♥ big hugs
Grace Tippie Niemeyer "Died" seems so harsh. I took a journalism class at Baylor and we were told to only use the word "died" in reporting it as news. However, in obituaries that were written by families often used euphemisms.


Terri Knowles "we lost our son......."

Diane Panasci James Thank you Tina, big hugs back. Grace Tippie Niemeyer, looks like we have something in common and I wish we didn't :-( I'll message you...

Shelly Skinner-summers Logan passed or the day of his accident. Death is to final and he has proven many times that he is still here.....

Anne Johnson I love the phrase, "passed from death into life". Just read it ....John 5:24. Can't "beat that" since The Lord said it! Whoso liveth &believeth in Me shall never Die!!

Sheri Huettner Sellars I say died. Anything else to me seems to try and soften or prettify what happen. He lingered a long time in his illness. He did not pass away. He died. Painfully and horribly at the age of 13. Passed away is far too gentle for the experience it was. It is a term that makes me angry.


Sheri Huettner Sellars I also have said he earned his angel wings. Mostly when I write about it.

Lynn Shoemate I always say died. Passed away is too soft. What would you say happened to Jesus on the cross? I don't think anyone would say He passed away. Die does not mean non-existent, it means not alive in this world.

Anne Johnson Then how do u explain His words, "passed from death into life"? I sadly lost two siblings and parents. The Bible says, "Absent from the body, Present with The Lord". Human minds will never fully grasp it. Please don't be angry, dear Sheri. I'm praying for you and trust you will pray for you.

Anne Johnson ooops......I meant, "pray for me"!!!


Joseph Vanderhoff death is just a rebirth. I say they've gone home...

Teresa Molitor Luttrell Tom Zuba--I think it was about two years into it as well. I don't remember when exactly things shifted. But I'm glad they did. I now living my new life, and although sadness still rises up periodically, overall I am happy. I credit deep acceptance of what is and surrender to God as I know it for the peace and quiet joy I now experience.

Anne Johnson That's a beautiful and comforting way to state it, Joseph! We say "Farewell".....and those on the other shore are saying, "Welcome Home"!!!!

Teresa Molitor Luttrell The other key to full acceptance was the willingness to fully feel the pain. That was huge.

Teresa Molitor Luttrell The issue I sometimes see when we use spiritual terms without fully processing the pain of physical loss is a sort of 'spiritual bypass'. I know people who refuse to say their son died, which blocks their ability to duly grieve because they really do not want to fully face their pain--it is just too damn scary and feels like it will annihilate them. Fully facing my pain after Teddy's death was a horrifying thing to start---once started, it grew less frightening.

Rick Colby Teresa, I started to use spiritual terms when I received a sign from my daughter two weeks after she died that she continued to exist. At that point, saying she "died", was "dead", etc., was no longer operational for me. I didn't do any "spiritual bypass." I took the grief on in its entirety. If calling a loved one dead/deceased, etc., works for you and others, God bless you. It doesn't work for ME.

Teresa Molitor Luttrell Thanks for your comment, Rick. I'm glad the issue I sometimes see is not true for you. I'm a minister, had full faith that my son's soul continued, and have had many experiences that show me the continuation of his existence. And, the painful physical reality, for me, had to be faced and fully accepted--something I found was at times blocked by spiritual concepts. Why this pain, if what I believe to be true is true? I learned to hold both--the pain, fully meeting it without trying to change it, in 'one hand' and in the other, what I believed was true spiritually. Spiritual bypass comes when we use spiritual concepts to deny or bypass pain, which you obviously did not do since you 'took the grief on its entirety.' The grief journey is different for each of us; I'm glad we've both found ways that serve our healing.

Ann Domico I say passed because my school kids don't like the word died. Passed seems more comforting as from one life to the next.


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