Words of Condolence

Condolences are an expression of sympathy to someone who has experienced grief arising from death, deep mental anguish, or misfortune. When individuals condole, or offer their condolences to a particular situation or person, they are offering active, conscious support of that person or activity. This is often expressed as a "sorry." Often, the English language expression "my condolences" will be in a context, such as death of a friend's loved one, in which the one offering condolences is communicating a feeling of pity towards the unfortunate party. There are various ways of expressing condolences to the victims. Examples include donating money to the charity nominated by the person who has just died, writing in a condolences book or supporting the friends and family of the loved one by making meals and partially looking after them in times of need.

Words of Condolences

The Essentials for Choosing the Perfect Words of Condolence

Writing words of condolence in a card or letter is a heartfelt way to offer support to the family of the deceased. Finding the right words of condolence to write in a card or letter can be difficult. let's take a look at some extremely important things to consider when writing words of condolences.

The Right and the Wrong Things to Say When Writing Words of Condolences

It's very hard to know exactly what any particular individual may be going through during the grieving phase, but it's certain they will be experiencing a wide range of emotions. These emotions can range from guilt to extreme depression, and consequently one must be very careful to not mention anything that may upset the bereaved more than they already are. A good rule of thumb is to sit quietly for a moment and place yourself in the grieving person's position. What would you like said to you if you lost a loved one; what would you not want said? Because emotions may be so volatile at such a time, the words of condolences you send should be carefully considered. Here are some things you should not say in your letter:

  • Don't raise any issues that the deceased and the bereaved may have had between them
  • Don't minimize the loss of the deceased by using cliches such as; "he or she is better off now", or "time heals"
  • Don't mention any debts or monies owed to you by the deceased
  • Don't offer financial assistance
  • Don't offer advice as to how they should grieve, especially if you've no experience in the matter. In other words, never say "you should do this" or "you shouldn't do that"
  • Don't compare the loss of the bereaved with some problem you may be experiencing in your own life

Keep It Sensitive and Simple- when writing words of condolences, and you can say any of the following:

  • Say that you're sorry for their loss
  • Share a funny memory of the deceased
  • Mention their unique qualities
  • Say that you'll miss them also

Words of Condolences letter example

Dear _____________,
1. Recognize the loss
I am so sorry to hear about your loss.
2. Mention the deceased by name
_____________ was a wonderful person and will be sadly missed by all who knew him/her.
3. Convey your sympathy
I was heartbroken to hear the news, and I want you to know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.
4. Recount any special qualities of the deceased that you can recall
I remember the gentle spirit and helpful nature of _____________, and will always remember him/her as an exceptionally special and giving person.
5. Talk about your favourite memories of the deceased
I particularly remember the time when we moved into the neighbourhood. _____________ came over and helped us lug our things into our new home, then brought us over a home cooked meal that night. It was a wonderful act of kindness which I'll never forget.
6. Point out the particular qualities and strengths of the bereaved
There is a great void to be filled by _____________ passing, but I know that the depth of love that you and your family share for each other and for _____________ will pull you through. Honor his/her memory with that love and the wonderful memories you share of him/her.
7. Offer specific help
I'd like to honour _____________'s memory myself by cooking you a meal on Thursday evening and I could bring some pictures that I have of that night when he/she helped us move in. There are some really great shots of _____________ teaching us how to Morris dance.
8. Conclude your words of condolences letter with an encouraging hope or wish
May God bless and comfort you and your family,
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