I received a text last night from a dear, long-time friend which said, “I didn’t get a chance to share this with you” – accompanied by a screen shot of an announcement that his uncle had died very suddenly and tragically.

For many people, texting and messaging is a safe way to offer condolences while not having to deal with the grieving person directly. I get how hard it is to speak with someone who is hurting, because if they start to cry while I’m talking with them – then what do I do? What do I say? Perhaps, it is much safer to Text a “Care” emoji or a “Heart” emoji, or better yet a “Broken Heart” emoji followed by a “Care” one.

For me personally, sending condolences via text depends on the relationship. I, myself have texted someone that I once was close to, but am not anymore, to tell them, “I’m sorry to hear about your mom.” I too have emailed an old colleague that I hadn’t seen in a long time saying, “I am sorry for your loss. I know you were close to your mom and will miss her terribly.”

The friend I heard from last night is different though. Even though they live a long ways away, our relationship is a deep one filled with love and respect for the other. I did Text him back immediately AND I followed it up with a phone call where I said, “I wanted you to actually hear my voice when I tell you how sorry and sad I am for you!” He was pretty shook up… voice wobbly… in shock still, I think. But you know what else? He was ever so grateful that I actually phoned him. I wonder how many people did.

I am old school though. The closer the relationship the more need for an actual phone call.

What was your texting experience in losing your loved one and did that experience inspire you to call the next friend that experienced grief?

Tips on writing a condolence text.

In short, a sincere, meaningful message from the heart is always the best.

  • I am at a loss for words. I am so sad for you and your family.
  • I feel honored to have known your sister. I will miss her ____.
  • Your dad was so easy to talk to and had such a great smile.
  • We are deeply pained by the sudden loss of ____. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
  • My heartfelt condolence at the passing of _____. We have indeed lost a wonderful friend.
  • I will never forget ____’s smile. My sincere condolences.
  • I worked with _____. The office won’t be the same without him! My sincerest sympathy.
  • I am saddened to hear about the loss of your grandmother ______. I know how special she was to you.

Fay Leman
Grief Support Coordinator