The Graceless Task of Condolences


For those who know someone who is widowed, it’s often difficult to find the right words, do the right thing. There is awkwardness in death.  The well-meaning attempting to ease my pain were in pain themselves.  As a widow, I became adept at making those who were trying to comfort me, feel comfortable.  It’s part of the healing process.  To those offering condolences, there are no rules.  In my experience, there were no inarticulate words of sympathy; no mourner dressed inappropriately; no bad flower arrangement; no incorrectly executed act of kindness.  Just reach out and be there. Knowing I wasn’t alone made all the difference. The outpouring of love and support was overwhelmingly comforting and heartwarming.  Is there any other advice from my fellow widows and widowers for well-wishers?  What was helpful to you?


2 Responses to “The Graceless Task of Condolences”

  1. iyna

    That’s a good point about people being in pain themselves. Sometimes it’s hard to find the words and sometimes I think people are scared of saying the wrong thing. (“It’s God’s will,” “I know how you feel,” Everything happens for a reason.”).

  2. Sal Viola

    Exactly ! Just reach out and be there. People would feel so awkward ! It felt like some people avoided me ! A few said to me ” I don’t know what to say. ” I would reply ” You know, just saying that to me is comforting. I don’t know what to say either ! I certainly can’t explain what happened here. Thank you. “


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