What to say at a time of loss…

Cover of "The Art of Condolence: What to ...

Cover via Amazon

This year looks like it will be a year where I will have to say farewell to a few good friends and family members.

So what do you do, and what do you say… and what do you write in a time of loss? Especially to those left behind.

In the book The Art of Condolence: What to write, what to say, what do do at a time of loss. By Leonard M. Zunin, MD, & Hilary Stanton Zunin… they list a few tips.

Here are the key components  for writing a letter.

  1.  Acknowledge the loss, say how you heard the news
  2. Express your sympathy. Do not hesitate to use the word ‘death’ or note the actual cause of death.
  3. Note special qualities about the deceased. They may be personal characteristics for example, courage, leadership, or decisiveness.
  4. Recount a memory about the deceased. Early in bereavement, memories of the deceased are often temporarily dimmed. This can be frightening for those in grief. Relate a brief anecdote or two.
  5. Note special qualities of the bereaved. The bereaved will typically experience a transitory impairment in their usual capacity for self-appreciation. It can be helpful to recall a loving remark about the survivor that was once made by the deceased.
  6. Offer assistance. Make a specific offer (doing the grocery shopping, running errands etc…)
  7. Close with a thoughtful word or phrase.
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