Writing a sympathy card is not easy. We want to reach out. We want to avoid clichés. We want to bring comfort, but grief is so very personal.
Best to avoid:
- Phrases like “time is a healer”, “I know how you feel”, and “I’m pleased they are no longer in pain” . These could potentially undermine someone’s grief.
- Explaining why you are writing. It is not about you.
- Sending money in your card (where the family request charity donations). Another time!
- Using religious terminology such as “praying for you” and ” they are in a better place now” unless you are absolutely certain the recipient shares these convictions.
- Keep it short .
- Start with phrases like “I’m so sorry for the loss of your ……” or “I’m very sad to hear of the death of …..”.
- If you know the deceased, sharing a short story or memory may greatly help or perhaps saying “….. was an inspiration to me. I will never forget her/him” or “I am so thankful to have known….”.
- Close with “I’m thinking of you” or “you are in all our thoughts”.
- Clearly identify yourself. These card may end up as keepsakes.
- Think about noting the date and sending a card on the anniversary. So few do this and it is almost certainly going to be appreciated.
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