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Writing a Sympathy Card

Posted on April 23, 2015
Knowing what to say to someone who has lost a loved one is difficult. You want to sounds sincere, but what do you say that would be enough? In our experience, simple is always better. Here are few ideas to get you started:

Address the card to who you know. If you knew the decedent, address the spouse or next of kin. If you know a family member, write the card for them. There is no need to address the entire family if you didn’t know them personally, but extending your thoughts to the rest of family is more than okay.

Keep it short and simple. You don’t need to come up with a Hallmark card-style poem. Just be yourself. Saying a simple, “I am so sorry to hear of your loss” can mean more than elegant poetry. If you knew the deceased personally, sharing a small memory with the family could bring a smile to their face. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t go beyond three short paragraphs—some of what you say may get lost in a longer sentiment card.

Conclude with a sincere sentence. After you have expressed your sympathy, saying something like, “I am keeping your family in my thoughts” or “Please don’t hesitate to call if you would like to talk” is always a nice gesture. If you offer to help in some way, be specific, such as, “If you need me to watch the kids, please let me know” or “If you get tired of cooking, give me a call and I will come over.” A vague, “If you need anything, let me know” is more likely to be ignored or the family may feel like they are imposing if they ask for help, even though you offered.

Make sure your handwriting is easy to read! Firstly, you want to make sure the family can read your sympathies, but secondly, they also would like to know who it is from. If you don’t have the best handwriting, ask someone else to write it for you.

It’s always best to say whatever is in your heart, rather than what you think the family would like to hear in some form of overly expressed prose. Keep it simple and always, always be sincere and it will be a comfort to the family. 

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  1. kmass9 | Jul 19, 2017
    good one.

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