I just read a beautiful reminder in the New York Times this morning about how important it is to write a letter to someone grieving about the person who has died.

If you can think of a few special memories you have about the person who died, these can be such pinpricks of light to someone who misses that person. Can you recall something that person said that had an impact on you? Something kind that they did? Something quirky or unique about them that you will always remember?

Share these things.

Even if you didn’t really know the person who died, you know and love someone who deeply loved that person.

Your note can even be simple and short, like this: “I’m thinking about your mom today. Even though I didn’t have the chance to meet her, I know she was an incredible person because look at the influence she had on YOU. I’ve also always enjoyed your stories about times you shared with her, especially baking together and sharing those yummy treats with the homeless. I know she had a beautiful, generous heart and I am holding her (and you) in my thoughts right now.”

Here’s a great quote from the article — thought I hope you’ll read the whole thing:

“A condolence letter is a gift to the recipient, but it’s a gift to the writer, too. Remembering someone you loved is a way of remembering who you were, a way of linking your own past and present. Even when you love only the survivor — even if you hardly knew, or never met, the mourned beloved, you know something crucial: You know that person had a hand in creating someone you love. A condolence letter confirms the necessity of connection, one human heart to another. It’s a way of saying, ‘We belong to one another.'”