Range PrintWorksRange PrintWorksRange PrintWorks 4542 Bass Lake Rd

  Order Here

Preparing to write a condolence letter

We all want to comfort family and friends after the loss of a loved one. But so often we end up staring at a piece of paper wondering what in the world to say. Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Think of what you would most appreciate hearing at a time like this, and write that.
  • Start with a small piece of paper or a small card and provide just a sentence. Meaningful is better than going on and on. You can add another sheet of paper if you think of more you’d like to say.
  • Use something that is genuine, use your own words and phrases. Avoid trite and overused phrases.
  • Date the sentiment for the benefit of family genealogists later.
  • Recall what the deceased person meant to you personally. Offering a story of an interaction that captures the person’s character will be appreciated for years to come. It can be funny, respectful, heartfelt. It could be something the person taught you overtly or subtly, but something that made a difference to you and the way you now live your life.

Angela Hunt holds a degree in the Psychology of Communications from Concordia University, St. Paul, MN, and is a grieving caregiver whose father recently passed away. She shares her time with her husband of 35 years, her grown children, grandchild, friends, and close extended family.
Gilbert, MN 55741 - 218-865-6741
Here’s an example:

{use references to religious traditions if you know the family would appreciate them}

Dear Bachman family,
My sincerest condolences to you concerning the tragic and untimely death of your dear Todd. May our Lord Jesus Christ comfort you with every comfort, every rest, and every encouragement He has already prepared for you at this time.

Could I share a remembrance with you? I met Mr. Bachman when I worked for European Flower Markets from 1975-1984. Todd was my boss’s boss at the Lyndale store when I was employed there as Merchandise Plan Coordinator for the 48 EFM stores. One day we were walking down the glass corridor together. He asked about my baby, and then our conversation redirected to the fine points of the merchandised display of the moment. Todd had unending enthusiasm for the place—even in the dead August heat. A little old lady half his height marched up to us. She poked a finger toward his chest pocket and addressed him, her crickety voice reverberating from the glass and block walls to every customer and associate on the sales floor. “Young man, do you work here?” A piercing question that could just as well have been an accusation. A man twice his age or half his authority would easily have been offended. But he just got a quiet grin and said, “Well, yes I do.”

“Young man, I need a clay pot, and I can’t find a good one. Can you help me?”

Mr. Bachman could easily have snapped his fingers and delegated such a minor task. But he painstakingly ushered her as though she were a duchess right over to the clay pots, discussed her needs as if they were as important as a delicate political negotiation. I went on with my duties.

When I came back through the corridor half an hour later, he was still with her, so intent on providing a good shopping experience for her that he didn’t even notice me observing them.

That day, all three of us got smiles on our faces:
  • She, for bringing home a 19 cent prize;
  • He, for the satisfaction of seeing her pleased –without revealing he was general manager of the company;
  • And me, for receiving an indelible lesson in stellar customer service and the delicate art of humility.
{since he was shot during the Olympics in China—there to see his daughter play volleyball, I gave reference to that event as well}

He was a special, honorable man I have been grateful to have known. Thank you for sharing him with the rest of the world. Jesus said in Matthew 6:4 “…and thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly.” I can’t help but think that a purpose for this seemingly horrific set of circumstances is that the whole world can now come to know the value of Todd Bachman’s walk with the Lord. That somehow through this strange turn of events, he is finally being honored publically—worldwide—for the many acts of secret kindness he showed all these years. And I can’t help but think that, even through the venue of this horrible tragedy, Jesus will be glorified, too. I think Mr. Bachman won’t mind sharing the limelight one bit.

With heartfelt sympathy, Angela Hunt

© 2008 Range PrintWorks. All rights reserved. 4542 Bass Lake Rd • Gilbert, MN 55741 • 218.865.6741