How To Send Condolences To The Relatives Of A Departed Friend

Published by Sarah Hughes on

It’s never easy to say goodbye to someone we cared about. Unfortunately, this is a sad reality of life, one that all of us have to deal with at some point. This might sound strange to say, but there can also be an acute sense of loss when dealing with the administration after-the-fact is out of our hands. 

For example, if a friend we really did appreciate passes away, we may lend our assistance and offer anything we can do to help, but it’s not always the case that their family will want or even need this. They will no doubt invite you to the funeral or final goodbye, but they may wish to keep the planning relatively insular – as is their right.

So, it’s good to instead focus on how to properly send your condolences to the family of those you care about, sending your tribute in a sincere fashion they can appreciate and respect. Not only does this serve as a nice gesture, but it will warm the hearts of their family, and also give you a chance to express your grief and thorough respect. 

Sending your condolences to the families of those you care about is more than just ‘doing the right thing,’ but also about genuinely showcasing the impact they had on your life, and how you will always appreciate it.

Let’s consider how to achieve such an outcome. You may have your own ideas and that’s absolutely great. If you’re struggling for inspiration or wonder what would be suitable, we hope our advice can help you get started:


Sending Along Wonderful Pictures

While it’s true that the family may have their own photographs of their relative, perhaps sourced from their own cameras or social media pages, you may have some to provide also. 

You can deliver them as a part of a cloud drive folder of course, or send them through direct messages. But it can also be nice to add some formality to this imagery and gestures, like integrating pictures for headstones that can be framed robustly used as lovely decorations. That’s a nice way to portray your appreciation for the person and your time together.

Just try to make sure the image is relatively family-friendly after all, you may have some hilarious photographs of you and your friend at the bar, but it’s best to use material from that shared hike or holiday you enjoyed instead.


A Letter Can Showcase Your True Feelings

It might not be that their friend or family member is particularly aware of the relationship you shared with their loved one. You may just be a close friend from work, or perhaps you knew them from a particular club you both attended and had fun with.

If you’ve never met their family, barging into their functions or feeling entitled to an invitation to the memorial may not be appropriate. But you can always help their family see just how much you appreciated them. A letter may be a wonderful time to do that, posted to their prior address or perhaps given by knocking on the door.

Here you may lay out who you are, how you met, how long you knew each other for, and the extent of your relationship. You may also talk about those qualities you appreciated in your fried, and why they were so important to you. Sharing a few fun memories you shared can also be nice. Of course, topping this off with your condolences and an offer of support should they ever need it can be lovely.

This might not really ‘achieve’ anything in the long run, but it’s a lovely way to share a heartwarming affectation with those who may be grieving. This may lead to a meet-up for a coffee with a parent, or perhaps an invitation as we mentioned. It may not. But at least you’ll have extended your thanks and appreciation, which is a lovely gesture.


 Help With The Planning Or Costs

It may be that you’re in a unique position to help out with the administrative tasks of resolving their departure, something your friend’s family is probably dealing with in earnest right now.

For instance, lending your hand in driving their elderly relatives to the final memorial event can be a great idea. Or, perhaps even supporting with financial backing, like making sure the funeral’s catering is attended to after the ceremony is a good way to stamp a good-faith mark on the event in nothing but selfless support.

Alternatively, you may be trusted to help out with other measures, like taking their cats to the shelter or even bringing them into your own home if they have nowhere else to go. 


Show Up To The Events

It might be that your family would prefer a closed event, for close family only. This can be appropriate as it’s entirely their choice to do so, and respecting your friend in your own time is something you can still do.

However, most families will be happy to invite anyone who wishes to remember their lost loved one, as a manner of respecting the wishes and the life of that person they’re missing. Showing up to those events is important, even if it means booking a little time off work or doing our best to go out of our way.

If that’s impossible, then it’s quite common for modern funeral events to stream their processions online, as this became normalized during Covid-19. You may also have the chance to join other events. Irish wakes, for instance, are known to be more jovial and celebratory of a person’s life after the main funeral events have taken place – because they consider remembering the joy that person brought them to be more important than lamenting a loss, at least at this wonderful event. This can certainly help you express all the mixed emotions you’re feeling right now.

With this advice, you’re certain to send condolences to the relatives of your departed friend, and will no doubt be able to express your own love for the person you lost that way.

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Categories: Body and Soul