It’s tough to know what to say to a friend, family member or colleague who has just lost someone. None of us feel confident in this situation; we worry that we’ll say or do the wrong thing, and cause more pain, when all we want to do is make the bereaved person feel better.
But it’s important not to shy away simply because we feel awkward and ill-equipped. The best thing we can do is show our love and support to those most closely affected by a death, because we’ll all need this kind of support at some point in our lives. Working in the flower industry means we’re there for the biggest moments in people’s lives, and that includes moments of loss and grief. We’ve drawn on our professional experience to help you find the right way to send your condolences and share your sympathy and love when someone has passed away.
Keep it simple and friendly
What do you write in a sympathy card? Well, we’ve found that keeping it simple is often best. A short, succinct message will have more impact than a rambling letter.
We also recommend keeping it friendly and familiar. Many people fall back on the classic – ‘I’m sorry for your loss’. While this is fine, it can sound a little formal. Now more than ever, your friend needs you to sound like the person they know.
Try adapting some of these examples:
- I’m so sorry.
- Thinking of you and sending love and hugs.
- I was very sad to hear about your father’s passing.
Include happy memories
One of the best ways to show how much you care in your sympathy card is to mention why you admired the deceased, and to share the best memories you have of them.
- Your mother was such a funny, generous person.
- I’ll always remember that terrible joke he used to tell everyone he met!
- It was a constant joy to see the immense love she had for you.
Offer practical help
The initial period after a loss can be an overwhelming time for the bereaved. Think about what kind of help and support you can offer and make it clear that you’re serious about your offer.
If you don’t know what they need, just ask them. The things that will help most might not be what you assume.
- Please let me know what you need help with. Anything at all.
- I’d love to drop off and pick the kids up from school for the next few weeks if you’ll let me?
- We’re all here for you at work, don’t worry about a thing. Take as much time off as you need.
Things to avoid
Sometimes we so want to make the bereaved person feel better that we end up saying the wrong thing. Here are a few tips for things to avoid, both in your sympathy card and in person at the funeral:
- Don’t tell them that they’ll feel better in time. Right now they can’t imagine that.
- Don’t say you know how they feel, or offer unsolicited advice. Let them grieve in their own way.
- Don’t talk about how tragic the loss was. They don’t need reminding. Instead focus on supporting them and listening to how they feel.
Stay in touch
After the funeral, when all the flowers and sympathy cards have stopped coming and everyone else goes back to normal, the bereaved can feel incredibly alone.
Be sure to check in with them regularly, by text or phone call and continue to offer support. Invite them out for lunch or drinks – don’t stop including them in social events because you assume they won’t want to come.
Also try to remember important dates, such as the deceased’s birthday or the anniversary of their death, and send flowers or a card to mark the occasion and show that you’re still thinking about them.
A thoughtful gesture can say everything
If you’re struggling to find the right words, don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and something is always better than nothing.
Often, just the act of sending a gorgeous bouquet of sympathy flowers, or some chocolates, says everything you want to say and more.
A thoughtful gesture shows that you care, and reminds your friend that you’re there for them.
Which flowers to send?
With Fig & Bloom you can choose from our flower delivery Melbourne service or flower delivery Sydney service. We offer a range of contemporary arrangements which are perfectly suited as condolences flowers.
We recommend elegant arrangements filled with white and muted hues. But you know your friend best – choose whatever you feel will help lift their spirits.
It can be a good idea to include a vase with your delivery, in order to make things easier for the bereaved, so they can enjoy your thoughtful gift without any fuss.