It can feel impossible to find the right words to put in a condolence note. Well-wishers are often filled with doubt, wondering whether what they have to say will make any difference to a mourner's grief. If you're unsure, consider yourself. Wouldn't you want a condolence note if your father passed away? Would you judge the quality of the note or the loving intention behind it? Realise that the gesture is what's important, not the correct wording. Speak from your heart, even if all you write is, "There are no words."
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Put yourself in their place. If you haven't already lost your father, imagine how you'd feel if you did. Construct the message from that emotional space; write the things you'd most need to hear.
Express your sympathy. Use brief, simple language that isn't overly dramatic. You don't want the recipient to feel as if you're being dramatic, or using condolences for his father as an exercise in creativity. Appropriate examples include, "I'm sorry for your loss," "You're in my thoughts and prayers," "May God be with you and your family during this difficult time," and "This, too, shall pass."
Include a memory that expresses your positive feelings for her father. For example, "I remember that when we were kids, your dad always brought me along when he took you out for ice cream. He was so generous and thoughtful." If you didn't know the person's father well you can write something like, "He seemed like an interesting man with a lot to teach," or "Even from a distance, he seemed like a great guy." If you didn't know the person's father at all, transfer what you know about her to a comment about her father. For example, "Your father had a hand in making you one of the most compassionate people I know."
Write something encouraging. For example, "May the passage of time grant you healing and serenity," or "You are never alone," or "Know that love transcends all barriers."
Offer whatever services you feel most comfortable with. Ask the person who has lost a father if you can be of service by cooking meals, cleaning and doing laundry, going grocery shopping, babysitting or maintaining the lawn. He might also need help going through and deciding what to do with his father's belongings. Offers of support can be emotional as well as physical. You can simply say, "I'm always here to talk or listen whenever you need me. Day or night."
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