A message of condolence is difficult to compose. You might consider yourself to be a wordsmith, with strong persuasive, lyrical, sensitive, and compassionate phraseology, when conveying deeply emotional thoughts. However, when tasked to remit heartfelt condolences, in 2021, to someone you care for, who is suffering a loss, words seem to fade into silence.
Content is Comfort – the “Kiss Principle”
When writing a sincere condolence message to a beloved family member, close personal friend, admired mentor, or any person who has holds significant esteem in your life, apply the “kiss principle” for words of loss: keep it simple and sensitive.
Modern communication through social media platforms like Facebook, and Twitter, has shown that less is more, in words, but still adds a blanket of comfort, if well-constructed.
The following curated list of tips for expressing your heart-felt condolences, is gathered to help you convey the message that your words truly mean, for someone who is deeply grieving.
1.Send a digital message, immediately, followed by a physical note, which is a tangible expression of emotion for the recipient to hold on to, and re-read. A message offered on a social network platform, sent to this person’s online account, has immediacy, and is appreciated if the person has announced the death online. If not, it is best to send an e-mail or private message through direct mail. It is more personal and can be printed and saved.
A handwritten letter, brief but sincere, and sent in the mail (snail mail), will remain, for reading, when the recipient’s numbness dissipates. However, if you feel that mailing a letter is unsafe, right now, the e-mail can suffice.
Send your condolences with immediacy, in whatever form you choose. The recipient will need this visible symbol of loving support. It truly lifts the spirits, when loving comfort is demonstrated with passion.
2. Acknowledge the loss, using the deceased person’s name, to honor that person calmly, and reverently. Addressing the name, and if possible, relating a poignant memory, or brief anecdote, about him or her is personal and very touching. It commemorates the life that has been taken and demonstrates the depth of your feelings for the recipient, and their family members.
Affirmation that this special person’s existence, now gone, was noteworthy, and incredibly significant for the family, and yourself, is what giving a condolence message is meant to express. Not speaking about the decedent, gives a hollowness to words of sympathy.
3. Give a sympathy gift as a tangible symbol of comfort and caring. Often a message is not enough. The loss is significant, and the condolence should signify your depth of sympathy, and caring concern. Condolence baskets, speak, without words, to show how you truly feel. They are never misunderstood but are very much appreciated.
Condolence baskets are two gifts in one. The foods are sweet and savory, to give sustenance, and comfort, over time. Palate pleasing chocolates, caramels, and a delicate wine, chosen with knowledge of the recipient’s preference, makes giving a Grand Gourmet Sympathy Gift Basket, soothing, and quietly, warm, and caring surprise. The lovely basket will remain, to be used in the future, in many useful ways.
4. Demonstrate your intention for ongoing support by offering to assist with any tasks or needs that might occur now, and ongoing. Grief takes an enormous toll. A wish to lift the burden of someone who is in mourning, is another crucial component of meaningful condolence.
The person may not immediately respond. What might be needed is not where their focus is at this time. Including your phone number, and stating that you will be asking again, days later, will be a deeper kindness, which is greatly appreciated.
5. End with the same sincerity as you began when offering this condolence. A wish for the future, offered to the mourning recipient, is a gentle statement that life must go on. It connotes that you will be reaching out and will want to engage with this person. Hopefully, it will resonate with him or her, and be a source of strength.
If you feel it is appropriate you might add this quote:
“ All that we love deeply becomes part of us.” -Helen Keller
Words of Condolence – Adding Compassion in Difficult Times
Words may be lost in translation when grief is present, raw, and palpable. That said, when verbal expression is endearing, and coupled with kind actions, taken to comfort someone, they become priceless. The time, consideration, and profoundly thoughtful, efforts taken to demonstrate deeply felt condolences, are priceless gestures. These actions will hold great meaning for a grieving human being who has suffered a great loss.