How to offer condolences?


So my cousin just emailed me, telling me a friend of ours Father has just died a couple of hours ago.

I feel so bad for her. I don't know what to say to her. She's in america, and I was thinking of sending her an email. but don't know what to say.

and then it reminded me that i think my collegue a few days ago, told me that my supervisor's dad died, a couple of months ago. which coincidentally was the time, during which my own dad was battling with prostate cancer. thank God my dad has recovered. but i was really worried about my dad.

i feel bad for my friend and my supervisor's loss.., and feel i ought to write them both an email (i know email format is really bad) but i feel i should say something...

i cant even imagine how awful it must be to lose a parent. how devastating it would be.

just goes to show. life is really short. you never know. puts things into perspective.


do you think its inappropriate for me to offer condolences to my supervisor regarding his dad, even though its been a couple of months.

and how long should i wait to email my friend offering my condolences to her.


i think you should have offered your supervisor condolences when his dad actually died, not months later. and i also think you should send your friend a card, even if she lives in america. emails are just a bit too easy and quick sometimes. just my opinion...


yeh your right, i didnt know about my sup,. just found out a couple of days ago. yah, you're right. its too late now.

good idea about the card thing though to my friend. thanks.


Swantje, Lara's post made it quite clear that she only just found out that her supervisor's dad died, even though it was a few months ago. There was no need for you to be so judgmental (in my view).

Lara, it's probably easier than you think: I wrote a goodbye letter to a colleague, the same age as me, who had only days to live from cancer. I thought it would be impossible to write anything meaningful, but it was not, once I started. It's very cliched, but don't try to sound like someone else, and just think what you would like to hear in those circumstances. That's the way I did it, anyway.


yes, but it's months ago. i wouldn't mention it at all. it just looks strange, even if she has just found out.


It's never to late to offer condolences.
Try something along the lines of "(Supervisor), I recently heard that your father passed away a few months ago. I am so sorry for your loss. My own father was quite ill at the time. I know how hard it was to see what he went thru, and I can only imagine that the sorrow you and your family have experienced"
What would be strange is realizing a person was told your loved one passed away and that person ignored it like it didn't happen. Even late condolences are always appreciated--it's one more person acknowledging an important part of your life.
You may feel strange, awkward or embarassed to bring it up, but do it anyway, because it will be meaningful to the survivor...whenever you do it.
Take care, Basil.


FYI, my father is battling the same cancer as yours. And I just now found out that my friend's stepmom just died from cancer. Her Mom also died from cancer about 10 yrs ago.