In tough times, the right sympathy words can go a long way to soothing the turbulent heart of the bereaved. While you are searching for the right words to express your sadness and empathy, you may very well be combating your own emotional roller coaster or taking your own trip through the grieving process.
Never is it really easy to write good words of sympathy, but the first time you do it can be the hardest. What do you say? If you’ve ever lost someone you love, you know that there really isn’t any one thing that makes you feel better. Time, as they say, cures all, but time is the only thing you can’t put into writing.
Why write words of sympathy?
Why not just pull the person aside at the funeral (or after) and speak to them? Several things make a written note preferable to conversation. In the first place, holding a conversation requires you to think on your feet, and often in the case of a funeral or wake, you are grieving as well, making this hard to do. You have a chance to take some time and write out what you really want to say. Take your time writing your sympathy words and go back over it when you’re done. That way you can be sure of what you’re really trying to convey to a grieving person, and that is that they are not alone.
The first thing you ought to keep in mind is to write words of sympathy from the heart. This may sound cheesy, but it is true. Sincerity is hard to fake, and lack of it shows through. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what would ease your mind. How well do you know the person you are writing to? Perhaps they are too overcome with grief to even care about the content, and will be satisfied that you are thinking of them. The main point here is not to go overboard with the sympathies- let them know you’re hurting too and that you’re there for some mutual support.
Chances are that you knew the person, if not very well, then at least well enough to have had some experience that the bereaved will be able to identify with. Mention this in your letter. Bringing up positive memories of a person can be very effective consolation. Sharing a story about the person helps them to remember the good times, especially if the deceased had a long illness. The free sympathy words examples at ObituariesHelp.org takes the guesswork out of what to write in a sympathy card or letter.
Sample Sympathy Letter
Here is a short example of what a sympathy letter would look like. Keep in mind that while there is a loose ‘formula’ for your words of sympathy, you should avoid making it sound like you are copying it. This is just here to guide you in your own tough time.
There is no way to perfectly express my sadness at the loss of your brother. I cannot even imagine how you must be feeling right now, but please know that as long as friends stick together, we can make it through this tribulation.
Growing up, you know that your brother was like a brother to me as well. I remember well the fishing trips the three of us would arrange; loading up the bikes and heading out to Windy Creek to try and snag a few blue gills out of the water. Always the older brother, he taught me how to bait the hook and where to drop the line. Of course, we were just kids, but for those few hours every weekend, we were bass fishing pros hauling in record setting quarries.
I know it is hard to accept you brother’s death, but we must all remember that death is a natural part of life, however short that life may be. In your brother’s case, I believe he was taken from us too soon, though I also believe there is a reason for everything. His sickness was very difficult to endure, and we must take comfort in the fact that he is no longer in pain.
The loss of a family member is always difficult, but your brother’s death seems particularly hard for me. Grieve with me, and I will grieve with you. Together, I believe we can overcome this sadness and come out better for it.
Your Eternal Friend,
Handwriting Your Sympathy Words
Taking the time to write your words of sympathy in a sympathy card or letter does more than offer condolences. It shows the grieving person that you are truly thinking of them and that your sympathy words are sincere. These same words typed do not have the same impact and meaning as sympathy words handwritten from the heart.