Communicating condolences is not an easy task. Meeting someone face to face is an emotional experience that can leave us feeling drained. We also may not know the right words to say on the spot. It seems it would be much easier to text or email our sorrow – quickly and with less emotion. Is it appropriate to express condolences through text, email or instant messaging?
Let your words be true, not trite. Start with words from your own heart. Genuinely offer words that express the sorrow that you feel for the loss. Encourage the person with your presence. Offer words that assure that you will be there beyond the moments at the funeral home. Don’t say words that everyone says – let them be as unique as your relationship.
The words we choose to use to someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one is as equally delicate as those in an international summit or those used in saving a marriage. The lack of words or the use of insensitive ones will be remembered for years. The once firm relationship can emerge irreparably damaged. Are there any guidelines that can help us avoid the mine-field of thoughtless words? Are there tips that will help us choose words carefully?