Monday, September 14, 2009


I feel like there have been a lot of people in the news who have passed away recently. I was saddened to learn of the death of my colleague, Robert Isabell, over the summer, and, more recently, Dominic Dunne.

Over the course of my career, I've been asked by a few special clients to coordinate the funeral and memorial services of a loved one who had just passed away. Although most people don't think about it, funerals and memorial services require just as much planning as any other event, often times more so due to the very short turn around time. I pride myself on giving my clients elegant and memorable events that allow them to say goodbye with grace and dignity.

About a month ago, we did a funeral for a client. When I mentioned that one of the children hadn't received many hand-written notes, someone in my office suggested that perhaps his friends and associates simply didn't know what to say.

A condolence note should be brief, avoid including a personal comparison (when my mother died...), and let the person know that you're there for them. It's perfectly fine to say "While no one can truly know how you feel, please know that I am here if you need anything at all." Obviously, sharing a short remark about the deceased if they were a family member or very good friend is perfectly acceptable, but not necessary if there was no close relationship.

In the end, the effort of putting pen to paper will mean more than the content of the note itself. So no matter how awkward you feel, send that note because it will mean the world to the recipient.