Condolence wishes can truly bring us comfort. They communicate that others share our grief. The word “condolence” comes from the Latin word meaning “to feel pain”. But others cannot truly feel how deeply
we are suffering. They cannot know the conflicted feelings within us. Their expressions of sympathy can
only go so far in easing our grief. And yet, their wishes do serve to remind us that we are not alone in our sorrow, that others also cared for and will miss our departed spouse (friend).
Respect for ourselves and for the one we care for is a central attitude to live and to be lived by. We simply do not, and will not, know the truth and fullness of anyone’s personal life, for it is hidden even as we live it. Then to be respectful is first to give up thinking that we know what others are essentially about, and second, it is something we can hold on to, like a railing, while we learn as we go.