A sympathy card is often one of the simplest ways to show how much we care for anyone who has lost a family member or friend. The main purpose of a sympathy card is to provide kind words and support to those who are grieving after the loss of a loved one.
If you don’t know how to begin, Neptune Society shares some useful tips on how to write a heartfelt sympathy card.
How to Write a Sympathy Card
1. Pick the right type of sympathy card in the store, or carefully make your own. You don’t want to use humorous cards or stationery whose design is meant for another occasion.
2. Let the recipient know who you are and how you knew or were related to the deceased person. Generally, sympathy cards are sent to the widow(er), eldest child, or a parent. If you did not know the deceased personally, send the sympathy card to the closest relative that you knew. If it’s a grieving friend and you didn’t know the deceased person’s family, only send the card to your friend.
3. Use formalities. Show respect by using Mr., Miss, Mrs., or other appropriate forms of address. Be sure to also include proper grammar and spelling throughout the card.
4. Express how you felt. Here are some examples on where to start:
“Sending prayers to you and your family”
“We are sorry for your loss”
“Sharing in your sadness. He/she will be deeply missed”
“Please accept our sympathy/condolences in your time of sorrow”
“Our hearts and thoughts are with you”
Your condolence message can also be more meaningful by recalling a fond memory of the deceased. Make sure this story will be something that will comfort the bereaved.
5. Offer some help. Sometimes families and friends coping with the loss of a loved one just need an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. However, don’t be afraid to extend your help to something as watching the child or cooking up dinner.
6. Don’t be afraid to be unique. Because the relationship you had with the deceased was unique, offering condolences in a unique way can help to honor their memory and console the recipient of the sympathy card. For example, you might opt to include a meaningful quote, song, or poem that sends a comforting message.
Things to Avoid Saying
What you don’t write matters as much as what you do write in a sympathy card. Some phrases you should avoid using:
“It’s all for the best” or “It happened for a reason”
“I know how you feel”
“You should do something like…”
“You will recover soon”
“He/she was too young”
Remember that this is a sensitive and difficult time in a family or friend’s life and there is no need to remind them or dwell on the pain. Also, you should not insist that this was something familiar, by saying you know how it feels like or by comparing it to your own experience (if you lost a loved one before). Everyone heals differently and in their own time, so it’s best to remember that it’s not your place to dictate what someone else should do to in moments of grief.
Letting Them Heal
Those suffering from a loss appreciate that family and friends remember to say hello when the bereavement stage has passed. Let them know that you’re around even when there’s no occasion, or on occasions that remind the death of a loved one such as an anniversary or birthday.
Neptune Society would like to send our sympathies to families and friends who may be experiencing these moments of bereavement. We hope that this guide on writing a sympathy card might help you to send comforting messages to a person who has lost a loved one.
Please call us if you need to discuss our services such as cremation preplanning, veterans cremation benefits, or internment at our Memorial Reef. If you would like to request free information, simply fill out this form. You may also get immediate assistance if a loved one has passed away in the last 24 hours by calling your nearest Neptune Society local representative.