It’s a sad reality that that we all lose someone special in our lives. Social Media is the place that we most often get news of a friend’s loss. Death is inevitable, yet it is a time that we choose, unconsciously to avoid talking to the bereaved. Some times, it is because we fear saying the wrong thing. When a person loses a loved one, they value just knowing that you are thinking of them and that they are not alone in the pain.
Suzie Kolber gives tips on how to express condolences when you are far away from the bereaved.
You heard the terrible news and your heart aches for your friend. You loved her Aunt Jane like family, and the loss is hard to bear. What makes it worse is you live across the country. Since you started a new job, you have no vacation time to cash in so that you can travel to be with your friend. While the situation isn’t ideal, you can still express condolences even from a distance.
If you and your friend are close, a quick phone call can mean the difference to them- Just a few minutes to let them know you’re thinking of them in this difficult time. If they were the primary caregiver for the deceased, your friend may be busy with arrangements. It’s perfectly acceptable to send a text message and let them know you’re thinking about them. Just say something like the following:
“I heard about Aunt Jane. I’m so sorry. Give me a call when you have a few moments.”
You’ll also want to follow up with an expression of condolence such as flowers or a plant or even a memorial gift made to a special charity. You can include a card, which continues your sentiments.
“Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers even though I’m far away.”
It’s helpful to let the person know you continue to think about them even though you can’t be with them in person. You don’t need to apologize for the situation or spend much time on the fact that you can’t take off work for the memorial service. Just a small mention will get the message across.
Expressing Sympathy over Time
Your friend will need your comfort and sympathy more over time because everyone else will go back to their normal routines. Plan a vacation a few weeks or even months after the death of the loved one once you have accrued some time off. You can even schedule it for the anniversary of the loss to be with your friend at a difficult time.
While you are unable to be with your friend in person, you can check up on them and remind them they aren’t alone. Give them a call or send a message to let them know they are still in your thoughts. If you knew the loved one well, you can even mention a story about them. Sometimes people need to talk about their deceased loved one and others don’t feel comfortable. You can give them that opportunity, which is one way of helping them heal.
A short note on memorable occasions involving the deceased love one can also help. Times such as birthdays, anniversaries or other events will spark an intense time of grief. You don’t have to say much or have any profound words of wisdom. The following ideas will work well:
- “Just know I’m thinking of you on this day.”
- “I remembered what day it was and I know you do, too. Know you’re in my prayers today.”
- “Give me a call if you need to talk.”
As you can see, a few words can go a long way in making your friend feel better and letting them know they have your support to count on.
Suzie Kolber is a writer at Obituarieshelp. The site is a complete guide for someone seeking help for writing words of condolences, sympathy messages, condolence letters and funeral planning resources.