According to Google, "condolences are an expression of sympathy for someone who is experiencing pain arising from death, deep mental anguish, or misfortune". I think that we can all agree that expressing our condolences to someone that has recently lost a loved one is not something that any of us look forward to doing.
In order to help here are 5 Things That You Need to Know About Expressing Your Condolences that can help you effectively communicate your thoughts and offer comfort to someone experiencing a loss:
1. Don’t Say Anything Unless It’s Sincere and Heartfelt
At all cost, please avoid saying something just to be saying it. Expressing your condolences should be authentic, sincere and heartfelt. If you are not feeling it in your gut, don’t say it at all.
2. You Don’t Have to Bring Up The Death or Loss
Saying something like “I know that you are going through a really rough time and I just want you to know that I am praying for you and thinking of you and your family” addresses their loss while offering encouragement and support without directly mentioning death.
3.If You Can’t Say It Write It
Words are so powerful, especially when they are written down. By writing your words in a card or in some other creative fashion your offer the mourner or person experiencing the loss something to hold on to that they can return to in the future over and over again when they need it.
4. It’s Okay to Talk About Something Else
Sometimes the last thing that someone who is experiencing a loss wants to talk about is the loss. At times it is too difficult and other times they simply just want to focus on something else to get their mind off of what they are going through. Being that friend or supporter who offers them a breath of fresh air, laughter and NORMAL conversation can be such a treat for the both of you.
5. Each “I’m Sorry” Could Make the Loss More of a Reality
Keep in mind that grief can be compared to a wave of emotions. Some moments are full of emotional highs and others are emotional lows. At times hearing the words “I’m sorry for your loss” (said with even the best intentions) can be a trigger causes someone to crash into an emotional low because it reaffirms the reality in which their loved one no longer exist physically.
I am always eager to hear from you all. What are your suggestions on how to best express condolences to someone experiencing a loss? Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Joél Simone Anthony, also known as ‘The Grave Woman,’ is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. She is dedicated to eliminating misconceptions about post-life preparation while stimulating an open, honest and straight forward discussion about death. You can submit your comments, questions and requests to email@example.com or by using our contact page.