For a recent death – not close to me but close to a dear friend of mine (her mother-in-law). I don’t know what to do to make her feel better and was hoping I could forward something nice.
I asked the Dopers for help in this department once. I’m ashamed to admit that I forget who posted it, but someone wrote a beautiful haiku for me. Maybe that talented guy will create another beauty.
Also, there are sites on the web that can help, if you haven’t already tried that.
The best words are your own. It doesn’t have to be fancy, or even poetry:
I’m very sorry for your loss.
Please accept my sincere condolences.
I will be glad to help if there is anything I can do. (Name specific things: take care of the children, walk the dog, housesit if she must travel to a funeral, run errands . . . .)
My instinct is that poetry just doesn’t work at a time like this. YMMV.