The death of a loved one sends family members into deep mourning. The condolence message is a Expression of sympathy, gives comfort to relatives of the deceased in their mourning phase and conveys that they are not alone in this terrible exceptional situation.
Expressing sympathy and offering condolences is a sign of decency and empathy. However, condoling correctly is a fine art. It is not uncommon for the circumstances of the death to leave one speechless. For fear of phrasing something awkwardly, people bravely reach for a standard formulation or remain silent.
Condolences are not a duty, you do it from your innermost being. Thus, when writing a condolence statement, it can be helpful to put yourself in the shoes of the respective counterpart. Even in this moment of deepest pain, what would you love to hear, what would help you?
A card with a black border and empty phrases is certainly not the right thing to do.
How to express condolences?
They can offer heartfelt condolences verbally wish or write a funeral card, to express your sympathy.
Expressing condolences verbally
For example, when you attend the funeral service or say goodbye to the deceased at his or her grave, you will meet the bereaved family. In this case, a verbal condolence in the form of kind words is definitely appropriate.
Most important: The condolence should not be a memorized text of condolence, but sincere, personal words to the survivors. It is desired that you express your feelings. If you are struggling to find the right words because you are in deep mourning for the deceased, then you may also tell the relatives about this. Honesty and heartfelt sympathy are important.
Expressing condolences in writing
The Advantage of written thoughts most important thing about condolences and good wishes is that they are sent to the always be able to offer comfort to mourners, while verbal expressions of grief are rarely remembered.
The crucial thing is to send a card or the letter of condolence at the right time. As a rule of thumb: When you learn of the death, put your words on paper. When a letter of condolence arrives weeks later, it brings back the deep grief of the bereaved.
Digital expressions of sympathy – are you allowed to do that?
Digitalization is a good thing and may also be changing the way we mourn. Among young people, expressing condolences via WhatsApp can be quite common. For people of the older generation, this form of expressing condolences can seem tactless, as it is very casual and impersonal is. It is therefore up to the individual to decide whether the digital expression of condolences is the right way to express sincere condolences and personal sympathy.
However, if you learn of a loss via social media channels, you can of course also react there briefly and express your condolences. Nevertheless, one should not refrain from seeking contact in a more personal way.
Book of condolence – digital and analog
What is a condolence book?
Another way to write a letter of condolence in person is a Book of condolence. In the past, it was only customary for people in public life to. In the meantime, this tradition has become established in all strata of the population. Usually, the book of condolence is publicly available at the funeral service and offers every mourner the opportunity to write a few lines of sympathy. At the end of the funeral service, the relatives receive it.
What to write in a book of condolences?
Those who sign the condolence book can write their sympathy, wish condolences and also enrich the text with personal words and anecdotes. The closer you were to the deceased, the more appropriate a personal greeting is for the relatives. Also previously selected suitable funeral sayings fit into the book of condolence. Anything that offers support and comfort to the grieving is allowed.
How do digital condolence books work??
Nowadays Online condolence books widespread. Virtual memorial sites allow people to express their condolences, sympathy and grief around the clock and from the device of their choice. One advantage is the ease of networking – entries in memorial albums can be shared with a community, as well as the variety of exchanges: pictures, anecdotes, sayings – in some circumstances, exchanges can also take place between strangers connected by shared grief.
At Benu, there is the possibility of having a funeral announcement created online free of charge. It can be personalized, i.e. freely designed, and the content of the obituary and the accompanying photo can be freely selected.
The obituaries include an online condolence book where family, friends and acquaintances have the opportunity to post their thoughts and feelings on a bulletin board. A virtual sign such as a candle or a flower can also be made.
With the help of e-mails, WhatsApp, Facebook and Co. the obituary can be shared with anyone who knew the deceased and would also like to condole and share their thoughts.
If you would like more information regarding this or have any questions – Benu is always available by phone or email.
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How do I express my condolences in different situations??
Death in the family of a work colleague
The situation of the bereavement is decisive for the basis of the expression of sympathy or. the way in which condolences should be expressed appropriately. Of course, there are great differences between a bereavement in the circle of friends or acquaintances, but how you condole is derived precisely from the individual, interpersonal relationship: Are you more than colleagues, perhaps friends? Or hardly a word is exchanged with each other?
If you don’t know someone all that well, but you meet them one-on-one in common areas, for example, you should listen within to see if the situation is appropriate to address the loss and offer your condolences. How does that work best in this case?
A simple "I heard about your loss and I just want to tell you that I am very sorry" can already mean a lot to the other person.
The crucial thing is to give the grieving colleague or. Not to put the colleague in an unpleasant situation. In most cases, however, a joint letter of condolence is written within a department or – in the case of smaller companies – within the same department. A nice gesture would be flowers and a funeral card, which is signed by all colleagues and then sent to the private address of the mourner.
What to write in such a condolence card? "Dear:r …, We are very saddened by your loss and would like to express our deepest sympathy. When you return, we will support you as best we can here at work. Our thoughts are with you now as well. Yours ……".
Express condolences by mail?
If you do not wish to send condolences collectively, it is possible to do so an e-mail to the colleague in question or. write the colleague. Wording similar to the funeral card is appropriate, as is an offer of concrete assistance that you can actually provide. For example, that one could support work-wise, or have a coffee together after returning home, or offer another space to talk about the loss, if desired.
Writing a condolence message or bereavement card
What to write in a letter of condolence? The answer is often provided by closeness to the deceased person and to the bereaved as well as relatives: The closer you are to the people, the more you usually want to express, the more personal the condolences should be.
Those struggling for words should not doubt the quality of their own sympathy – Writing in general and especially of condolences does not suit everyone or anyone. Sympathetic and consoling words are a challenge even for particularly empathetic people. Which, however, in no way means that a letter of condolence or the like is not included.
What to write in a letter of condolence or a funeral card?
Bottom line: Condolences are always addressed to the relatives of the deceased and leave no room for self-promotion. The text of a funeral card should express condolences, comfort and sympathy. The same is true for the condolence letter, although here there is "room for more" to address the personal relationship with the deceased.
What is the difference between a funeral card and a letter of condolence??
Anyone wishing to send written condolences to a bereaved family is faced with the question: Funeral card or letter of condolence? Both are tried-and-true ways to express sympathy to the bereaved. The difference lies in the form: A Letter of condolence is written on a sheet of paper (usually DIN A4 format). A Condolence card is usually designed as a folding card format and offers less space for words of sympathy. Apart from this point, both types of text are similar in content, structure and layout. You can find everything you need to know about writing letters of condolence and expressing your sympathy in writing in our article "Letters of condolence and written condolences – How to put the right words on paper in the event of a bereavement."
If you are not very close to the deceased or their loved ones, a Condolence card as an expression of sympathy Be the right way. In stationery shops and office supplies you can already get printed cards, which usually already contain a funeral message. Nevertheless, you should not only sign this card, but also include a few personal sentences in handwriting.
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You write a letter of condolence, often called a letter of sympathy, if you were close to the deceased or if the relatives were close to you. The letter will handwritten on neutral stationery. Take your time – you will probably need several attempts.
Structure of the written expression of sympathy
A popular structure for a letter of condolence is as follows: It is advisable to begin with how you learned of the death and to say in your own words that you are sorry. To share the pain and grief for a moment, it is common to write down a beautiful memory that connects us to the deceased person or persons. Likewise, two appreciative lines that come to mind when you think of the deceased are also appropriate. Moreover, it is precious for the mourner to offer concrete help – which should then be given.
Choosing personal words for a funeral card or other letter of condolence
The gesture alone counts? This does not apply to condolences. Also the mourning slogan for the condolence card should be personal. One can be inspired, but a formulation in one’s own wording with a personal touch is always better. If you are unsure, you can write an example and get feedback from friends or family.
Impersonal salutations such as "To the house of mourning" or "To the grieving family" should be avoided, as well as words of wisdom, platitudes and tips for coping with griefA "time heals all wounds", "life goes on", "now he/she has no more pain" does not help anyone – least of all the mourning family. Think about what you would like to hear in this situation and what you would not like to hear. Consider: How did you know the deceased and for how long?? Why was the deceased a special person? What beautiful moments there were with the person?
One’s own grief is not a prerequisite for writing expressions of sympathy by card or letter, or for signing a book of condolence. Comfort for the bereaved is more important than individual feelings.
In a written expression of condolences, in addition to the text, the external form is important. Funeral cards are usually designed to fit the occasion. Colorful products are taboo. You are on the safe side with white or cream-colored, high-quality stationery and matching envelope. Envelopes or stationery with a mourning border are reserved for the family of the deceased to announce the death.
traditions& Gestures for condolences
In each case, the individual intensity of the bond determines how we condole. If you want to be little intrusive and act in the short term, there are nice ideas for condolences, which are quite traditional in character and appropriate. A letter or a funeral card with personal words and flowers or candles never go out of fashion. Another very nice custom is to cook something to eat and put it in front of the door of the mourner or the mourning family. Often the lasting, small gestures and pragmatic things count much more in the first weeks after the death.