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Personal Writing: In Your Write Mind 4. 5. 6. 268 Offer friendship or love, whatever the relationship. If you're offering help, offer help: "May I come over next month and take down your storm windows?" not "I'm here for you." If you knew the person well, try to include specific details about the deceased person's ad- mirable traits. Tell a brief story about the time the person picked you up from the airport at midnight, for example. Abraham Lincoln wrote the following letter of condolence: Executive Mansion, Washington November 21, 1864 Mrs. Bixby Boston, Massachusetts Dear Madam: I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom. Yours very sincerely and respectfully, Abraham Lincoln