My wife and I attended the funeral of a friend’s 92-year-old father last week.
A friend of that friend told us she hadn’t called or written.
“Everyone’s telling her they’re sorry. I don’t want to say what’s been said.”
I think one fear was in the commenter choosing the wrong words. This person mentioned previously that the father’s age and months-long lingering illnesses may have resulted in more relief than grief for our friend.
1. The only wrong words are NO words. Make the effort. You get points for trying.
2. Let Hallmark be Hallmark. You don’t have to offer a variation of “I offer my deepest sympathy” or “We are sorry for your loss.” (Getting better, but runs the risk of sounding like a greeting-card heist.)
3. Simple + short = sincere.
“You’ll be in my thoughts.”
No need to rationalize that the deceased is in a better place or has ended his suffering. The people before you have exhausted those well-worn pontifications.
Be brave. Act now. Someday, you may be waiting on the other side of that wall of uncomfortable silence.