Sympathy Card Etiquette

Don’t let sympathy card etiquette worries get in the way of writing sympathy notes or sending sympathy gifts. What is most important it to let your friends and loved ones know you care.

Sympathy cards are a wonderful and thoughtful way to tell someone that you are sorry for their loss and are thinking about them through this very trying time that they are going through. Knowing someone cares at this difficult time, often helps a grieving person to begin to move on.

When is it too late to send a card?
While most sympathy cards are given close to the time of the loss, it is never too late to send a card telling someone you care and are thinking about them as they go through the grieving process.

Many times receiving a card after everything has calmed down and those around you have returned to their normal lives, can help a grieving person immensely. Those who are grieving often feel more alone and miss their loved one more months after the funeral than in the first initial days after the loss. Once the shock has worn off and friends and relatives are no longer coming in daily, the bereaved feels the loss of their loved more more acutely. This is a time, when a sympathy card often helps the most.

The birthday of the deceased, the first holidays spent without them and the first anniversary of their loved ones death are all difficult times to get through for someone grieving. Sending a card on these occasions even if you have sent one before, can be a balm to those who feel alone in their loss.

What Should I Say in My Card?

It is often difficult to find the right words to say when someone has lost someone they loved. The best suggestion is to speak from your heart. Simply let the person know that you are sorry for their loss and are thinking about them. Never tell a grieving person you know how they feel, because everyone grieves in their own way and not two people feel the same about the loss of a loved one.

If you personally knew the deceased and they were a friend or someone you admired by all means say that in your card. Knowing that they are not the only one who misses the deceased helps in ways we can only imagine.

When sending a sympathy card months after the funeral to let the grief stricken person know you are thinking about them during a particularly trying time such as the first Christmas without their loved one. Simply tell them that they are in their thoughts or share a memory of the deceased that will show that you too are thinking about them and will serve as part of their good memories of their loved one as time goes by.
Who Can I Send A Sympathy Card To?

Normally, you send a sympathy card to the closest relative of the deceased. However, it is also appropriate to include other family members in the card, especially if they are still living at home. You can also send a separate card to a friend who has lost a parent as well as one to the surviving spouse.

Just remember, you don’t have to have all the right words. Just knowing you care is enough to help the grieving person get through this difficult time and the days that lay ahead.