The art of writing a heartfelt sympathy note

When a friend or a loved one has lost someone dear to them, offering funeral songs, poems, or quotes can be a good way to express your sympathy for his or her loss.  But if you want to go an extra mile,  you can pen your friend or loved one a heartfelt sympathy note.

But writing one can be quite tricky.  You will always find yourself at loss for words, or worrying over saying the wrong things.  At times, you’d be tempted to only scribble “My sincerest condolences to  you and your family.” and hope that he or she knows that you’ll always be there to offer a shoulder to cry on.

And while they probably do, they’d like to hear it from you themselves.

So how do you write a sympathy note?

While it’s no rocket science, writing a sympathy note is an art form.  Here are a few tips in writing one:

  • Forget post-its.  Use a nice stationery.  This shows how much you respect the weight of the situation your friend or loved one is experiencing.
  • K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Son).  Most of the time, people have difficulty writing a sympathy note because they think they need to start it off with something philosophical.  The good news is, your friends or loved ones would rather know what you think or feel for them instead of reading some deep and profound quote you have copied off from the Internet.
  • Don’t offer any explanation for the loss.  More often than not, they don’t want the idea of God or some supreme being snatching away all the people that they care for.  Telling them that “It is part of God’s plan” would only anger them and may even blame Him for their loss.
  • If you’ve never experienced the loss of a child or a parent, don’t try to compare your experiences with them.  Talking about your pet cat’s sudden passing due to poisoning will make you sound calloused and this may not offer any consolation at all.
  • Offer some help.  But don’t go as far as paying for the burial or cremation services.  Some people may find this insulting.  Instead, let them know that you’re always there to offer them a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear.