Funeral Etiquette: Sending Condolences
Published on May 15, 2021
When a person you know passes away, you might be uncertain on how to send condolences to their loved ones in an appropriate way. Considerably, sharing your heartfelt words with the family of the deceased loved one would be a thoughtful and loving gesture during a time of difficulty.
There are two common ways that friends and family share their condolences:
- By sharing sympathy flowers
- By sending a written note
If you are sending flowers, you can do that while the funeral service is taking place, or send them directly to one of the deceased family members. Flower deliveries usually come with a note, which is what you can use to put your sentiments into a condolence message. Because different flowers have a unique meaning to various cultures, you should select flowers appropriate for the funeral occasion.
If you decide to send a note without accompanying it with flowers, you can send one written by hand as it has a unique personal touch. However, a heartfelt message of condolence via email or a message on an online memorial are also two good ideas you can go for. You can even decide to do all three.
If you live in the same area as the family of the deceased, it would be a thoughtful gesture to find a way to assist with the funeral arrangements, as an act of support, like running errands for them. This will mean the world to them, compared to using only comforting words like “I’m here if you need my help”.
When you should send condolences.
The most preferable time to do this is shortly after you receive the news of someone passing. You can send over a note first, then afterwards, include an offer of support to the family. You can also send over flowers during the funeral service.
What to put in your condolences message.
This is unique with every person, according to your relationship with the deceased and their family, and the kind of message you would want to pass to their loved ones. If you and the deceased did not know each other well, you may simply send a simple message to let them know you are sorry for their loss, and you are ready to assist in any way that you can.
If you shared deep memories with the deceased, you can send a note to their family with a reminder of a memory as a way to comfort them.
We have created a number of condolence message templates for you to use. You can also customize them according to your preference.
What to exclude in your condolence message
Grieving time is full of emotions, and you might say something to console the family members of the deceased, which may end up being offensive to them. That’s why it is best to know what to say to a grieving family. Below are some phrases you should leave out in condolence messages.
“I understand how you are feeling.” Grief is dealt with individually. People react to the passing away of a loved one differently. It is best to avoid talking about your own emotional experiences to others.
“This was the will of God.” This is a well intended phrase, however, it might not be the response for such an occasion, as the family members might feel that you suggest God intended to punish them by taking away their loved one.
“They are in a better place.” This statement might sound as if you are suggesting that being in that family was not good enough for the deceased, and they deserved to be separated from their loved ones.
“Let me know how I can be of help to you.” This kind of phrase adds more burden than consolation to the family of the deceased. It simply means you need them to come up with ways on how you can be useful to them during that period.
“Take heart, you will soon feel better.” This phrase, however well intended, can be interpreted as offensive by the grieving family. They may feel like you are denying them the space to heal from their grief.
What is most important to consider during grieving time is the memories you carry with the deceased, and the value they have added in your life. Use this as inspiration for whatever you communicate.
Published on May 15, 2021