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Condole: To express sympathy or sorrow; I condoled with himin his loss.
American Heritage Dictionary
I'm So Sorry
You read it in the newspaper or the telephone rings; the loved one of a friend has died. Among the thoughts that cross your mind are the desire to help in some way, to respond to your friend's sorrow and pain. The wish to condole is such a human trait, yet most of us are at a loss to acknowledge, in a caring and loving way, the grief of others. That's understandable. No one has ever taught us the art of condolence. And when we try to draw from our own experiences of loss, we find that those who have tried to condole us, friends and relations with the best of intentions, have frequently said or done exactly the wrong thing.
We want to comfort, to condole, but we don't know what to write, what to say, o r what to do. Days fade into each other and the call never seems to be made; that letter just never seems to get written. Sound familiar?
What is it about our confrontation with another's anguish that causes a tightness in our chest, a constriction in our throat, the primal urge, tempered only by social form, to run? What causes the words to slip away when we are faced with another's grief? Is it overwhelming compassion, or is it the reflection of our own mortality mirrored in another's suffering? Sometimes, when we respond to the grief of others, our deepest fears surface and we are reminded of our own experiences with the pain of loss. Yet, we know intuitively that in offering comfortand sympathy to another, each of us gains.
Grieving embraces the mysterious, unknowable aspects of existence and has the possibility of lending insight into oneself, one's choices, and the profound human longing to understand. Those who grieve, as well as those who have died, c! an The Art of Condolence. Copyright © by Leonard M. Zunin. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.