When someone you love is coping with the death of a loved one, it's easy to feel helpless since you can't take away the pain. However, taking small actions can ultimately be quite comforting to the bereaved. One of the most powerful things you can do is write a heartfelt letter of sympathy. In fact, according to The New York Times, the condolence letter is as deeply personal as any communication could possibly be. These key components are essential to composing an effective, comforting sympathy note.
The opening of the sympathy note should be affectionate, straightforward, and sincere, but not cheerful or even upbeat. It's not the time to get cutesy, but a simple nickname is fine.
A sympathy greeting shouldn't include small talk. Get right to the point at the opening of your greeting. Express your compassion and sympathy. Keep in mind that you don't want to burden the person with your own pain, but simply express your concern for theirs. Be as detailed and specific as possible, letting the person know that you are there for them without talking about your own pain.
Main Body of the Note
The main body of your sympathy note is where you really have a chance to pour your heart out. While you should write this at your pace and include only what feels genuine to you, the body of a sympathy note for a funeral service will often include:
At the end of your sympathy letter, be sure to let the person know how they can get in touch with you if they don't already have access to your contact information. A number or email where they can quickly reach you is a thoughtful gesture.
When you go to write your signature, some thoughtful closings include the following:
Finally, remember that someone's time of grief is deeply personal. Everyone grieves differently, and not everyone will have the wherewithal to immediately thank you for a sympathy note. Some may not be able to even acknowledge it within their grief. Simply leave the sympathy note for the person and express how much you care without having expectations on its outcome.
For more advice on funeral service etiquette, contact a funeral home like Michels & Lundquist Funeral Home.Share
26 May 2016
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