SYMPATHY CARDS — WHAT DO I SAY?
One of the most difficult cards to send to a family or friend is a sympathy card. Why? Because if you are like me, you have many mixed feeling on what is truly appropriate for the situation. But never underestimate the powerful message you convey by just sending a card at a time of grief. While many ask that donations be given in lieu of flowers, it is always appropriate to send a card to honor the departed person.
If you are reluctant to send a card, just because you don’t know what to say, don’t give up! Review these lists of phrases and read each one out loud. Place a check mark by the ones that sound “natural” and appear to fit your situation. Work with it until it feels right, combine or adapt them to meet the unique situation.
If you are a spiritual person you may want to choose a phrase like:
– You and your family are in our prayers.
– We ask God to send his blessings on your during this difficult time.
– You and your family member will be lifted up in our prayer group this month.
– God is here for comfort, ask and he will bring you peace.
– Our prayers and blessing surround you with peace.
Some people may be intimidated to mention prayer, especially if they are not regular church attendees, so some good choices would be:
– You and your family are in my thoughts.
– With deepest sympathy.
– Our hearts go out to you in this time of sorrow and loss.
– Our heartfelt condolences go out to you at this time.
– We are thinking of you.
– We loved your (father, mother, sister, brother) very much and share in your loss.
– We were very sorry to hear about the passing of (name of deceased).
– I am here for you when you need to talk, cry or smile about (name of deceased).
This is NOT a time where you need to go into details. One sentence with your signature can be sufficient to let your friend know you care and you are there for them. Send a card as soon as you hear the news. Then follow-up with another card to focus on the “survivor” and let them know you are there to help them through the grieving process. If you are sending a card to someone that is of a different religion, and you are unfamiliar with their grieving process, take a few moments to research about what is acceptable and not. They will appreciate you taking the time to send them an appropriate sympathy card.
If you feel inclined, and were close to the deceased person, you may want to send a short heartwarming story about how the deceased made a difference in your life or in the lives of others. This is a time to celebrate the uniqueness of that individual and help establish ways to remember them for the goodness and happiness they brought to others. This message will become a cherished memory that lives on for many years. Your thoughtfulness to share this special moment with that family member will lift their spirits and help them to focus on the positive.
Some Useful Resources