- sympathy with another in sorrow
- an expression of sympathy
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Synonyms: compassion, consolation, solace, commiseration, condolement, comfort
Other Related Words: benevolence, pity, sympathy, sorrow,
Condolences are words of sympathy that are offered as an expression of compassion toward the one who has suffered an intense loss. Expressions of true condolence first attempt to put words where words are not easily found. When the pain of loss is overwhelming, no words will lessen the emotions, let alone remove them. Condolences acknowledge that words are not enough.
Many times we are at a loss for words when someone has experienced such a loss. Condolences whisper compassion and care and concern. Condolences affirm that you will support the grieving person through time and energy and presence. Condolences share that the one remaining will not be alone.
Thomas Moore, Irish poet and songwriter, penned these compassionate words. “With what a deep devotedness of woe I wept thy absence – o’er and o’er again. Thinking of thee, still thee, till thought grew pain, and memory, like a drop that, night and day, falls cold and ceaseless, wore my heart away!”
Perhaps Israel’s King David best wove spirituality into the tapestry of condolence when he wrote, “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul” (Psalm 94:19 NIV).