When we learn there’s a death, we think it’s essential to respond immediately. Some folks rise to the occasion and quickly craft a heartfelt message. But if you need some time to do the job justice, take it. The bereaved get most attention in the early days and weeks, while they’re in shock and processing the loss, and most likely won’t remember much. It’s in the weeks and months ahead, when mourning takes place, that they might most appreciate a note from you. Here are five strategies for preparing notes:

  1. Wait a day, a week, or a few weeks to digest the news and collect your thoughts before writing your note.
  2. Don’t do it all in one sitting.
  3. Draft your note first then edit, revise, and proof before writing your final note.
  4. Allow the note to sit for a day before mailing. Re-read it to ensure it reflects the true message you would like to convey.
  5. Include your address on the envelop to make it easy for the recipient to reach you, should they desire.


Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now available in three individual volumes: "Illness & Death," "Suicide" and "Miscarriage." Additional titles are available as e-books: "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle StoreClick here to order.

Image via stock.xchng / benkersey

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