Florence Isaacs is a freelance journalist and author of many books, including My Deepest Sympathies...: Meaningful Sentiments for Condolence Notes and Conversations, Plus a Guide to Eulogies.
Florence gives tips on writing sincere and thoughtful sympathy notes and answers questions about condolence and eulogy writing, funeral etiquette and more in Sincere Condolences, her original monthly column for LegacyConnect. In her new blog Widow in the World, Florence – a widow herself – offers advice to bereaved spouses and partners.
If you have a question for Florence, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. What can I say or write to someone whose brother just died of AIDS? I haven’t heard much about AIDS in recent years, except for newspaper stories about epidemics in Africa. I thought people were living with it in the United States — that it was treatable. Also, I don’t know the…Continue
Q. My co-worker’s husband just died, and I’m at a loss for what to write in a sympathy note. She and I are friendly – occasionally we have lunch together with a group of other associates – but we’re not close friends. What should I…Continue
Q. Are there any guidelines about mentioning survivors in an obituary? Should an ex-spouse of the deceased be listed — and if so, what wording should be used? How about step-parents and step-siblings, or in-laws?
Most of us think of “survivors” as closest kin, but that leaves a lot of leeway in these days of blended families and serial marriages. In practice, a survivor can be anyone the grieving family says he/she is, and it can get very…Continue
Q. I will attend a funeral in a few days and plan to join the procession of cars to the cemetery afterward. I’m curious. When did the custom of funeral processions start – and how much does a hearse cost today?