The loss of a loved one is a very emotional time for most people. What to say and do can be a very difficult morass to traverse. You never want to offend anyone so here are a few sympathy card do’s and don’ts.
- Send a sympathy card as soon as possible after hearing of a friend or colleague’s loss. Delaying will just make their grievance longer.
- Add a personal note such as “we are keeping you in our prayers” or “we are here if you need us”.
- Address the card to the person and their family. You can say John Smith and family or Mary, John, and the Smith family. Remember the whole family will be grieving and they will all appreciate your thoughtfulness.
- Don’t write I know how you feel. This can really sound condescending. You don’t know how they feel. Everyone deals with loss differently and you don’t want to convey the impression that their pain is felt the same by everyone, making it insignificant.
- Don’t send a typed note. Sympathy cards should always be personal. Expressing sympathy with a typed note appears cold and unfeeling.
- Remember if you feel uncomfortable writing something, it will come across wrong to the recipient.
Most importantly, you should keep in mind that a sympathy card should be a warm expression to help ease a person’s loss.