A good friend of mine at work just had her son commit suicide this week. She is completely depressed of course. I don’t know what to say to her or anything. I got her a card, but what could I possibly write in it?
Any ideas you have would help. She also has other younger children. The whole ordeal is completely depressing.
Thanks so much,
I am so sorry to hear about your friend’s tragic loss. What a truly depressing situation.
Many people avoid others in your friend’s situation. It can be overwhelming to know how to respond, but more than ever the bereaved family needs to know that others care.
Sending a card is perfect. I hope I can help out with this important message.
First of all, don’t be afraid to mention her son’s name. You could start your sympathy card message out by saying, “I was shocked and saddened to hear about (insert son’s name) death.
You may also want to say:
“I can’t imagine the heartache you must feel.”
“My heart goes out to you.”
“Words seem inadequate to express the sadness I feel.”
Next, you can mention a positive characteristic of her son.
Then, you can close with one of the following sentiments:
“Wishing you hope and peace during this difficult time.”
“Thinking of you, wishing you hope in the mist of sorrow, comfort in the midst of pain.”
“Remembering with you, the life of your precious son.”
If you can offer help of any kind, you can also close your message with a specific offer. Maybe offer to take her out to lunch or to be available if she needs a listening ear.
The biggest thing you can do is just be her friend through it all. She may have many people act uncomfortable or awkward around her.
I think it is important to keep in mind that suicide is not triggered by one event caused by one person. It is the culmination of many events and difficult circumstances. It is the result of complicated emotions and pain or in some cases even untreated clinical depression.
Here are some things you can say if you are talking to your friend:
“This is a tragedy, I am so sorry for your pain.”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“Your son didn’t do this to hurt you.”
“It was not because of something you did or didn’t do.” (especially important with children)
“Your son was in a place of very deep emotional pain and confusion.”
It is important to not say:
“He is better off now”
“He couldn’t handle life”
“Somebody should have seen this coming”
Wendy, I hope this helps you write your sympathy card and also makes it less overwhelming to comfort your grieving friend.