Courtesy of Woods-Valentine Mortuary

“Words cannot express how I feel.” We have all said this at one time or another. That is how we often feel when someone we care about loses a loved one. Fortunately there are many other ways to express your sympathy.

Sending flowers is among the most popular ways to say “I am sorry for your loss.”

Beautiful bowl arrangements, standing floral sprays, or even plants send the message that you are thinking of the family in their time of bereavement.

It certainly gives families comfort to see the colorful array of flowers and plants sent from family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. It pleases the family to know that someone cared enough.

Another expression of sympathy comes in the form of delicious food dishes. One of the last things we think about when we lose a loved one is cooking. Sadness and grief deplete our energy and we often don’t even care to eat.

But we feel taken care of when family and friends bring prepared dishes for our family. Food and fellowship at such a time can be very comforting.

Most families have a repast after the funeral service. This is a social gathering of family, friends and all who attend the service. Lots of food is served and it is helpful when significant others bring food dishes for this gathering.

A greeting card also expresses that you care. It is a simple way of letting a bereaved family know that they are in your “thoughts and prayers.” Those that can’t attend the funeral service because they have to work, live far away, etc. can still send a message expressing their support through a card.

Emailed expressions are becoming more common and there are even websites through which you can send your condolences to a family.

Viewing the remains and/or attending the service is a traditional way to “show your respect” for the dear departed. I have often heard a family say “they cared enough to come.” I have also witnessed a family’s joy at such a time as this. Some people that attend a funeral have to take off of work or travel great distances. Your attendance says “I love you” or “I truly care.”

A Church Resolution is sent to the immediate family when a person dies who has been a member of, or is in some way affiliated with, a church.

This is a written document that formally acknowledges the person’s service to God and the church, and includes a bereavement message to the family from the Pastor and the church members and comforting scripture.

The resolution is often read at the funeral service and a copy is placed in the minutes of the church. The Resolution gives the family much needed spiritual support and encouragement.

There are additional ways to express your sympathy such as: a monetary gift, a gift of an item needed for the funeral services, such as programs, or a gift of your time to help send acknowledgement cards, etc.

All sincere and heartfelt expressions of sympathy are more than appreciated at a family’s time of loss.

PLEASE NOTE: This article has been slightly edited for brevity and clarity. For more articles and resources, visit