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Words for when there are No Words: Writing a Memorable Condolence Note

by:
Deborah R. Chappa (Author)

ISBN: 0-7414-0112-6 ©1999
Price: $9.95
Book Size: 5.5'' x 8.5'' , 70 pages
Category/Subject: FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS / Death, Grief, Bereavement

We witness each others’ farewells after many forms of loss and we grieve, or struggle for words to comfort the grieving. Almost a century ago, American philosopher and poet, George Santayana wrote, “There is nothing sweeter than to be sympathized with.” (The Life of Reason, 1905) This book is an easy-to-use reference, gently educating about various losses. Caring, non-judgmental and non-preaching condolence expressions are exemplified by sample letters where the use of writing tools called “Keys to Comfort” are highlighted. Topics include: prolonged illness; visiting caregivers; childrens’ deaths - miscarriage, illness, accident, murder; writing to youth; suicide; pet deaths; job loss; divorce; when you do not know the deceased; sympathy cards; timing; anniversaries; and other remembrances.

Abstract:
We witness each others’ farewells after many forms of loss and we grieve, or struggle for words to comfort the grieving. Almost a century ago, American philosopher and poet, George Santayana wrote, “There is nothing sweeter than to be sympathized with.” (The Life of Reason, 1905) This book is an easy-to-use reference, gently educating about various losses. Caring, non-judgmental and non-preaching condolence expressions are exemplified by sample letters where the use of writing tools called “Keys to Comfort” are highlighted. Topics include: prolonged illness; visiting caregivers; childrens’ deaths - miscarriage, illness, accident, murder; writing to youth; suicide; pet deaths; job loss; divorce; when you do not know the deceased; sympathy cards; timing; anniversaries; and other remembrances.

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Customer Reviews

  , 03/02/2008
Reviewer: Elizabeth Rochon
I found the guidance in the suggestions given in this book to be sensitive and heartwarming. Truly, words that convey caring at a time of emotional distress.

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  A Resource for Difficult Moments , 03/02/2008
Reviewer: Thomas Rochon
We have all faced the helpless feeling of being at a loss for words when confronted with the grief of a family member, friend, or colleague due to death of a loved one. This slender volume is full of insightful and specific ideas for how to express one's sincere condolences in those situations. Based on the author's extensive experience in grief counseling, the book also identifies sentiments and phrases to AVOID because they come across as insincere or insensitive. I have managerial responsibility for about 1000 people and I have made it a habit to write a brief condolence note to every staff member who loses a parent or other family member. Most often I do not know the deceased, and sometimes I have only a slight acquaintance of the bereaved. Chappa's book has helped me find words for that very specific (and difficult!) situation. And I have learned that a short note of condolence is always very deeply appreciated. If more of us had this book at our elbows, I know that more of us would be willing to reach out in those important moments when we are most needed.

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  A Helpful Condolence Book , 03/06/2008
Reviewer: Lorraine Rochon
I acquired this book a few years ago and had occasion to review it recently when I wanted to write a condolence note to a relative I hadn't seen in many years. The book offers helpful suggestions on how to communicate effectively at a difficult time.

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  Words for When There are No Words: , 03/08/2008
Reviewer: Lyn Gray
I've found this book to be very helpful. Not only when I need help about what to say to someone who's lost a loved one, but also for myself when I'm feeling at loose ends.

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