I was so sorry to hear about your Dad. He was a very special man―a running (and life) inspiration to me, and I will always cherish the memory of our rainy, post-wedding run across the Brooklyn Bridge. I know how close your family is, and that love and strength will help you during this difficult time. You’ve also got friends―like me―who love you and will be there for whatever you need. I will find you after the New Year and keep you in my thoughts. With love, Bob
Why It Works
- Memories of the deceased mean a lot, especially warm stories that illustrate a connection. This is an invaluable gift to someone going through a loss.
- Zeroing in on a positive will help a mourner feel supported at a vulnerable time.
- Mentioning that you will be there for whatever the recipient needs is great reminder for the grieving, who often feel alone in their emotion.
How To Write One
- Don’t be afraid to send a sympathy note. People shy away from writing because they don’t want to remind the grieving of their loss or they don’t know what to say. But holding back sends the wrong message.
- If you’re at a loss, be honest. Write “I don’t know what to say, but I want you to know I’m thinking of you.”
- Use the deceased’s name. This helps both you and the recipient feel connected to him or her.
- Never tell people to look on the bright side. “He’s better off” is more hurtful than helpful.
- Avoid using the words died and dead. A better phrase is “your loss,” because that’s what the recipient is struggling with.