Tuesday, April 1, 2014

You Can't Erase Death's Shadow, Sorrow

Playing with shadows is fun for kids.

When the sun is high in the sky, the shadow you cast is very small. Likewise, when life is "sunny", our problems seem to pass like wispy clouds. But when the sun is low in the sky, our shadows grow long ... and we can't outrun them.

Death casts a shadow of sorrow on the life of survivors. That shadow may fade quickly, appear intermittently, or linger without relief. This fact is often frustrating for people who interact with a grieving person. 

  • We feel badly about their pain
  • We miss the "normal" relationship
  • We want to help restore the normalcy
  • We offer assistance and advice 
Syndicated advice columnist, Ask Amy, heard from a woman in great pain over the death of her husband. She pleaded, "Please do not tell me to get a pet." 

This "unexpected widow" was inconsolable, and expressed that only an "I'm sorry" was a comfort. The Condolence Coach Rule #1 is to remember that you are powerless over another person's grief, (death's shadow.) Advice is a big No-No.

Top 5 Keys for a Comforting Condolence Note

Using 2 or 3 Keys is all it takes for a sensitive and comforting note.
  1. I am very sorry.
  2. I feel so fortunate to have known (use name) because___.
  3. You have been a wonderful (state relationship, in this case: wife). Cite an example, if possible.
  4. My favorite memory of (use name) is ___.
  5. What I admired most about (use name) is ___.


Thank you for caring.  

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