Florence Isaacs is a freelance journalist and author of many books, including My Deepest Sympathies...: Meaningful Sentiments for Condolence Notes and Conversations, Plus a Guide to Eulogies.
Florence gives tips on writing sincere and thoughtful sympathy notes and answers questions about condolence and eulogy writing, funeral etiquette and more in Sincere Condolences, her original monthly column for LegacyConnect. In her new blog Widow in the World, Florence – a widow herself – offers advice to bereaved spouses and partners.
If you have a question for Florence, please email her at email@example.com.
Q. The mother of a relatively new client of mine just died of a heart attack. I’m a lawyer, and am thinking of sending the condolence note below to the client:
“Janet: So very sorry to hear about your mother’s passing. When the days seem dark, remember to cherish the good memories the two of you created. It will help carry you through the dark. You are in my thoughts and prayers.”
Do you think this note is appropriate?
Q. My father is very ill and wants his ashes scattered in a lake near the family summer home when he dies. Are there restrictions on doing so? Who should I contact for specific information? Also, there will be no minister present when the ashes are scattered. Is there a protocol we should follow or particular words that should be said?
Your questions raise some complicated issues. One is location. Is the lake on private or public property? The owner’s…Continue
Q. I just attended an event where I briefly met a colleague whose 18-year-old daughter died in a drowning accident four years ago. I meant to send a condolence note at the time. But I never did, and I’ve always felt so guilty about it. Is it out of the question to send a note to her now? If it isn’t, what should I write?
I’ve always said it’s never too late…Continue
Q. The 16-year-old son of friends committed suicide a week ago. My wife and I are thinking about inviting them to attend a social event coming up next month and wonder whether that is an appropriate thing to do. Is it too soon after the death, and would it seem as if we don’t recognize the depth of their grief? Or not?
The death of a child is unimaginable agony for the parents. Your children are supposed to outlive you, and the enormity of the loss just…Continue