Friday 24 November 2017

In times of grief we must do the write thing

Mary Kenny
Mary Kenny
Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

I wrote three letters of condolence this month -strangely, deaths are more likely to occur in February than any other month, short as it is. Letters of condolence are sometimes difficult to compose, and I know that in the past, I have sometimes failed to do the right thing and get that letter written. But I always regret the omission later. Because I have come to understand how much the bereaved appreciate an acknowledgement of their grief.

The etiquette question: is it all right to send a sympathy card? Is it OK to transmit your condolences by text, by email or just a phone call? For practising Catholics is it best to arrange a Mass card? I think the answers to these queries must be yes, fine. Any message is better than silence or ignoring the person's loss, which can be so hurtful.

But when a friend remarked that the sweetest aspect of a letter was that "you can always read it again later, and it remains so meaningful" I became convinced that the letter of condolence is the most comforting way of sending a message of sympathy.

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