How to Express Condolences for a Death

Written by e. grace gibbons
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How to Express Condolences for a Death
Showing you understand and will never stop caring is the best condolence. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

The death of a friend or loved one is heartbreaking for everyone involved. And for some people, expressing condolences is a difficult task. The important thing to remember is that your words, services and help are invaluable during this time of great sadness. Do not think a basket of fruit or a simple note is not enough when trying to convey sympathy, because even the smallest gesture will always be appreciated by those closest to the deceased.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Send a sympathy message to the closest kin of the deceased, along with an item such as a fruit basket or a flower arrangement. In your condolence letter or card, your message should include a few words of comfort that express your deep sorrow, how well you knew the deceased person, and what you can offer during this time of grievance (prayers, sincere condolences, thoughts or help with the funeral).

  2. 2

    Get in touch with the family during the first few days after the death. Reach out through a phone call or stop by for a visit, making sure to let the affected people known you are thinking of them and are available if needed.

  3. 3

    Offer to make phone calls and run errands for them. Volunteering to be in the house will provide help and comfort during this dark time. Your services can include driving to get out-of-town relatives, organising babysitting services or simply being there as a shoulder to cry on.

  4. 4

    Talk to friends, family and clergy to find out what kind of support would be most useful. This is especially helpful if you find the obvious tasks required are being handled already.

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