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Writing a Sympathy Note

Your mind remains in limbo any time a member of your circle, workmate, or neighbor is bereaved and you have to struggle with writing a sympathy note.

A sympathy note is a time-tested tool we use to tell a bereaved family that their loved one touched your life and that you care. However, the trouble arises when you take a pen and paper to express your feelings. More often, many of us either develop worries of hitting the wrong note, or lack the techniques to write the sympathy note in a way that will leave the bereaved uplifted.

Here’s what to do when writing a sympathy note:

Show that you care when writing a sympathetic note. Whether you’ve been affected by the demise or you are just okay, writing a sympathy note is the only way to tell the bereaved that you are together with them in this journey.

Offer some help when writing the sympathy note. Remember that the family is facing a difficult time. It would be a great idea to show how you will offer help. For instance, you may write, “can I mow your lawns next Wednesday?” It sounds a little rude to write “call me whenever you need my help.”

Make the sympathy note timely. Writing the sympathy note immediately after you’ve received the information about death could be more condoling than doing it after months or weeks. It is actually the best moment to show the bereaved that you care.

Use comforting words. Use the sympathy note to show the family that the difficult moment is only a passing wind. Tell them that there’s a deity in control. Be polite and put the audience you are addressing at heart.

Keep it precise. Three to four lines will be enough to communicate your message when writing a sympathy note. Tell the grieving family what you knew abut the deceased after acknowledging the demise. End with a simple statement like “with grief” or something similar.

The don’ts when writing a sympathy note:

Don’t use words that may show pride or arrogance. Statements like “tell me whenever you need my support” looks a little arrogant and empty. Remember that the bereaved are caught up with send-off arrangements. Be specific if you want to lend a hand.

Don’t show your religious inclination if you aren’t sure of the bereaved family’s social upbringings. They may not be holding similar religious beliefs as you. Let your sympathy note brighten their day whether they are non-believers, share similar religious beliefs as you or subscribe to contrary religious beliefs.

Don’t make death look like a good thing. Remember that the family is mourning when writing the sympathy note. They are probably cursing death for robing them a loved one. Use this moment to agree with them. Don’t use sentiments like “John suffered and is finally going to get eternal rest.” This shows that you are in agreement with the demise. Only use the sympathy note to console. Let all the other details remain with the family.

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