Expressing Condolences 

By: Plinton Curry
Monday, October 22, 2018

Trying to express condolences to a grieving friend or loved one can make even the most articulate of us feel tongue-tied. While it may seem like an obstacle you can never overcome, expressing your sympathy and condolences to someone in a Westfield, NJ funeral home or cremation is doable.  

For starters, social media is making condolences very tricky. Are digital condolences appropriate? In some cases, yes. If you are not particularly close with the person, a simple message through Facebook or Instgram is nice. However, be sure that comforting the bereaved is your primary goal, not making yourself look good by expressing condolences publically.  

If you do choose to give condolences on social media or online, do so simply and ideally privately. You can also follow up with a note, text or phone call depending on your comfort level. Also, do not post about a death on social media unless the bereaved has done so first. The last thing you want is to force your grieving friend into an unwanted public conversation about the death.  

Is social media not for you? You can also try sending a note. Send out condolence card immediately after you learn about a death. While a card may seem like not enough, support and attention is always appreciated after a loss.  

If you’re at a loss for what to say in a card or even in person, its OK to stick to the classics. A “I’m sorry for your loss,” or a “my thoughts and prayers are with you” are always appreciated. As long as the sentiment comes from a sincere place, your words will have meaning. You can also draw on your memories of the deceased to make your words more personalized. Talk about how what you loved most about that person, as sharing positive memories is a very powerful action that can mean a lot to the bereaved.  

If words aren’t your thing, you can also offer help to the bereaved. Be specific when you offer help, as people can be prideful and not want to burden others with their needs. Be proactive and spend that energy so that the bereaved don’t have to. Try saying things like: “I’d like to bring you dinner on Tuesday evening” or “I’m going to the grocery store and would like to bring you food. What can I get you?”  

It’s also a good idea to keep in mind some things you should not say. Never make the death about you, so definitely avoid making references to your own losses. Similarly, don’t try to empathize so much with your friend that they wind up feeling like they have to console you. You should also avoid cliché sayings like “It happened for the best” or “I can’t imagine what you’re going through.” 

Plinton Curry Funeral Home, located at 411 W Broad St Westfield, NJ 07090, has years of funeral home and cremation experience in Westfield, NJ. We would love to help you in your time of loss. Give us a call at (908) 232-6869 to learn more.  

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