Loss of a spouse, a parent, a sibling, a child — Oh my God, a child! — a close friend, a pet or a colleague creates despair, emotional turmoil, worries, and a thousand different feelings.
Sending a condolence card is hard but necessary.
Those who hear or read the news of the loss of a friend’s family member, friend or co-worker are saddened and unsure of how to express themselves in a hand-written note. They are at a loss as to what to say and are confronted with a range of emotions.
I think it is important to express your feelings immediately to family, friends or co-workers. If they do not hear from you they will be bewildered by your apparent lack of concern. Therefore, darlings, express your feelings of sorrow and regret as soon as you hear of a death, an accident, a divorce or an illness.
There are different ways to offer condolences
When I lost my late husband, Michael, someone handed me a small book that became my salvation. It helped me as I went through the grieving process. Personally, I send my condolences by arranging for the planting a tree or trees in Jerusalem because my message is that life will go on in the city of all religions. I remember someone gave me a little box with a loving message tucked inside and someone else gave me a little angel to wear to guard and protect me. These little gifts of condolence were in place of a card and to this day, 28 years later, they are treasured.
Most of us send a condolence card. I know it is hard to know what to say and just as hard to know the words to begin the message. Here are a few starter sentences:
- We were saddened to hear that…
- We want to express our symphony …
- I was so sorry to hear that …
- I feel overwhelmed that…
- What can I do to help…
- I am shocked beyond words….
- I am going to be there for you…
Then go on and express your feelings. Bereaved people want to hear and talk about their loved ones. If you can, tell a short story about a time you were together. For example:
I know your mother was your role model. I remember when she gave me the best advice…”
I don’t think anyone who suffers a loss cares about a polished note. They care that you cared. That you took your time, darlings, to think about them. That they hear your voice in the words you write. That you are expressing your feelings sincerely and lovingly.
As I sit at my desk on a warm sunny day I am not feeling joyful because I don’t like the subject I have chosen to discuss with you, darlings. I don’t like any kind of loss. I don’t want anyone to suffer. I don’t want anyone to lose their home or business in a disaster. I don’t want anyone to be asked to retire or lose their job. I don’t want anyone to have a business failure. I don’t want anyone to lose a spouse, a parent, a sibling, a child, a friend or a pet. And, I don’t want to lose those I love and I don’t want you to suffer a loss. Unfortunately, we all will.
I just took a deep breath and sighed because someone told me it was healthy to sigh. Now I am going to practice what I preach.
I am going to live in the ‘present’ because it is a beautiful gift. I am going to observe my surroundings and be grateful. I am going to go outside with my pooch, America, and together we will gaze at the cloudless blue sky above and the brilliant green grass below and feel the presence of nature all around me.