It can be hard to communicate your genuine feelings and meaningful sentiments in a sympathy note. Try incorporating some of these suggestions in your condolence message.
When expressing your condolences in a sympathy note, use words from your heart. As tempting as it may be to find and use a standard message, a personal note will be appreciated by the bereaved. Here are some tips for writing a genuine and meaningful sympathy message:
- Begin with a single sentence condolence message like “I was so saddened to hear of your loss – I can’t imagine what you are feeling or going through,” or “please accept my condolences on the loss of your ______ – you and _______ are in my thoughts.”
- Share a story about the deceased – try to mention a fond or funny memory that the bereaved can treasure.
- Include a statement that relays the message that the bereaved are not alone like “Please know, I am here for you – I’ll call you in a week, and we can talk if you’re feeling up to it.”
- Put yourself in the shoes of the bereaved – what type of messages would you appreciate? Perhaps you could include a statement like “I will never forget your mom’s smile” or “every time I visit an antique store I will think of your aunt.”
- Avoid phrases like “He’s in a better place,” or “It must have been a part of God’s plan.”
- Always double check your spelling of the deceased’s name and sign your full name.
If you’re not sure what to say to the bereaved, read our articles on the top five phrases to avoid when speaking to a griever and what to say to the grieving.
Leah Yomtovian Roush is the Senior Manager of Strategic Development for Cleveland, Ohio-based eFuneral, a comprehensive and free online resource that enables those thinking about end-of-life to research, plan, and arrange a wide variety of funeral-related services. Leah is the editor of eFuneral’s Online Resource Center, and she manages the company’s marketing efforts and develops strategies for company growth. Leah also serves on the Boards of multiple non-profit organizations, helping them expand their reaches and increase their impacts.
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