How to Write a Condolence Letter According to a Grief Counselor, an Etiquette Expert, and a Minister

You need to know how to write a condolence letter, but there’s no perfect thing to say when someone dies. There are no magic just-right words that will erase another person’s pain, or change their reason for feeling it.

But there are a lot of wrong things to say.

“Don’t say, ‘Your loved one is in a better place,’” agree Litsa Williams and Eleanor Haley, two grief-focused mental health professionals who host What’s Your Grief Podcast.

“Don’t try to make any comparisons” between their loss and your loss says Elaine Swann, an etiquette expert.

And “don’t assume you know how they feel,” says Vanessa Rush Southern, a Unitarian Universalist minister.

Writing a note in response to loss of life can feel like both a pitifully minor act and a really difficult one. But our experts shared that reaching out through a note to a grieving person is a

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Coronavirus in Sacramento? Keep calm, trust science and eat some local Chinese food

The new coronavirus has reached Sacramento, creating serious concerns. Here are two important things we can all do to help stop its spread: keep calm and trust science.

Face masks? Forget them. Buying face masks may only hurt efforts to contain the virus’ spread. Want extra protection? Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your nose and mouth.

Hand sanitizer is always a good idea. After all, it’s still flu season.

Our community’s best defense against the virus is to avoid misinformation and panic – despite the understandable temptation to overreact now that the new coronavirus is here.

On Wednesday, local health officials learned “that a Solano County resident receiving care at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento tested positive for coronavirus, representing the first confirmed case of the virus in the U.S. that is of unknown origin,” according to a Sacramento Bee story by Michael McGough.



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Coronavirus forced Chinese food delivery to evolve. Will it do the same in the US?

Matt Maloney says he wipes down his airplane seat with disinfectant every time he flies these days.

Maloney, the CEO of food delivery company GrubHub, is exercising the same brand of caution as he watches Covid-19, the disease caused by a novel coronavirus, spread across the globe. And he has every reason to be alert—what we know about the virus makes it an acute challenge for any company in the food delivery business.

Covid-19 is believed to have originated in a food market, and it appears adept at traveling on surfaces with lots of human contact. If China’s experience can serve as an example, the disease will continue to create opportunities and pitfalls for food delivery companies.

During the spread of a virus, there is an argument to be made that setting up a careful food delivery system is better than having infected people going into public places, or

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John Oliver Destroys Trump and Fox News’ Boneheaded Coronavirus Response

One week after urging the country not to vote for money-burning billionaire Mike Bloomberg, a man with “big virgin energy” who’s spent over $400 million to try to capture the Democratic presidential nomination, Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver took on the biggest news of the past month: the rapid spread of coronavirus.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control warned Americans last week that it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” coronavirus will spread across the United States, and there have now been 88 reported cases of coronavirus stateside—and two deaths.


The ensuing coronavirus hysteria has led to some truly bizarre media coverage of the pandemic, including the anchors of Good Day New York wondering: “Can you get the coronavirus by eating Chinese food?”

“No, you can’t! Of course you can’t get the coronavirus from eating Chinese food!” shouted Oliver. “In fact, if you’re eating at

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