When someone dies, all we have left are our memories. Sympathy notes that express your condolences bring comfort to the bereaved. The most meaningful ones include your thoughts, personal memories and, if possible, a treasured story. Photographs are especially appreciated.
Expressing condolences can be a challenge when you never met the deceased. Instead of first hand observations, you can draw on the previous conversations you've had with the bereaved. Use those stories and anecdotes as the basis for your sympathy note, as in the following example:
You have my deepest sympathy on the death of your mom. I know how important she was in your life and your care and support during these last few years must have brought her great comfort. Your relationship was quite special and while this makes the loss so very painful, I do believe that your closeness and warm memories will bring you comfort. Know that I am thinking of you and your mom.
Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now available in three individual volumes: "Illness & Death," "Suicide" and "Miscarriage." Additional titles are available as e-books: "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store. Click here to order.
Image via Flickr Creative Commons / rommyflickr