Condoling via sms / whatsapp:is it possible?

Condoling by SMS

Friday, three weeks ago, was a very ordinary day. I wrote two articles, made kaiserschmarrn and drowned my ficus in a fit of caring. Then came a Whatsapp message: My dear friend Ida had lost her father. The day I wrote and cooked and didn’t think about how quickly life can be over. What should I tell her? And above all which ways I should tell her what there are really no words for?

Why do we condo?

Mourning& Funeral is one of the few areas where the Etiquette still very high is kept. Black clothing is to be worn at the funeral, sneakers have no place at the memorial service, and condolences are ideally written in ink on personal stationery. There are good reasons for all this. By our choice of attire, we express respect for the dearly departed – and with our funeral card, we let the loved ones know: You are not alone, I am here for you!

This promise reaches the bereaved in an hour in which they not only have to deal with their grief, but also fight their way through a thicket of organizational tasks, cost issues and budget planning. And that’s why it’s important to Keeping promises.

Condolence – what is "appropriate"?

As for the "compulsion" to dress appropriately, I agree. When it comes to expressing condolences, however, I see things a little differently. In my world it is not important, HOW one condoles, but THAT you condole. I owe this realization to a bereavement in my own family. Six years ago, I lost my dear godmother, who taught me to write entire novels on tiny little vacation cards. At that time it hurt me insanely that many of my friends reacted to my message with silence.

Today I know that they could not deal with my grief – and that they lacked the right words. Yet I would have no detailed expression of condolence is needed at all: A simple "I’m terribly sorry and I’m here for you." would have comforted me already. Even if it had come in SMS form. The fact is that most people get nosebleeds just writing a simple postcard. How can you seriously expect them to write a whole letter about something that no one likes to talk about?

The only thing that matters is that express sympathy. Whether you write a letter, call or condole in person is secondary. And for those who are unsure or can not handle the subject matter: Write a mail, a Whatsapp message or yes, also a SMS. The main thing is to let them know that you are thinking of them and that they can reach out if they feel like it.

Condolence by SMS

Mourners do not need mountains of condolences. You need help where it is needed. Photo: Adobe Stock, (c) LoloStock

Condolence by SMS?

If Ida was still my neighbor, as she was a few years ago, I would have visited her directly. However, since we now have more than 1.000 km apart, I did not have this possibility. My next impulse would have been the bereavement card. However, our modern communication has it in itself that one must react more or less in real time. After all, Facebook and Whatsapp let the digital counterpart know directly when a message has been read.

Besides, there are messages where a deferred response is unforgivable. For this reason I have decided, via Facebook To condole:

Exceptions: Condoling according to etiquette

Within the family and among friends, the Direct offer of help in the foreground. The mourner should know that he or she will not have to go through the next days and weeks alone and that there are people who care about him or her. And here it is not important in which way you express your sympathy. All that matters is that you do it at all.

At Deaths in the circle of acquaintances or in the work environment things are a little different. If the personal relationship is missing, the etiquette takes stronger hold. If the opportunity arises, a direct face-to-face condolence is the best choice here. If this is not possible, you should react in the traditional way by sending a card of condolence. To find the right words, there are appropriate guides on the Internet.

TipSometimes less is more. Before you take on too much and then capitulate to the task, you should rather keep your condolences concise and add a nice saying if necessary. No one expects you to reinvent condolences.

What role does age play?

It’s in the nature of things that millennials don’t expect their friends to send them a handwritten funeral card. Communication has changed due to emoticons, Snapchat& Co. so much shortened that many even have to resist the temptation to send a crying smiley as an expression of grief. For older generations, the Sending obituaries and condolences by mail but of course.

Where can I find the right condolence card?

I can still remember well how my mother wrote funeral cards. She retreated to the small oriel with a window overlooking the courtyard, where there was an old chintz armchair with a small table. As she wrote, she kept looking out the window at the rhododendron, speedwell and evergreens for the right words TO SEARCH. When I needed a condom for the first time, shortly after moving to Vienna, I had high expectations. I didn’t want standard phrases, not the typical angels with sad eyes and no black and white roses.

I finally found what I was looking for in "Papierello", a small stationery store on Meildinger Hauptstrabe. The funeral cards are kept here in a small box behind the sales counter and convince with beautiful motifs and Simple elegance.

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