It can be difficult to find the right words to express to someone who’s grieving. Their relative may have been diagnosed with serious illness or died, and you want to express your condolences without upsetting them with the wrong words. Writing a sympathy card doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Here are five tips on what to write in a sympathy card so it will bring the recipient comfort.
Writing The Perfect Sympathy Card
First things first: you need to physically write on a card or personal note. A more convenient trend is sending sympathy cards through email, but this doesn’t have the personal touch it needs to evoke emotion from the recipient.
When you start off your card, offer your condolences. This doesn’t have to be a lengthy story about how the person’s diagnosis or death was a horrible tragedy, and that you can’t begin to imagine, etc. etc., and so on. Keep it short, sweet and heartfelt (e.g. “I’m terribly sorry for your loss.”).
The best thing that the family of the loved one could hear is your appreciation for them. Everyone acts differently around family, friends and coworkers, and it’s a relief for the family to know that others loved them and are sad at their passing. This is a great time to mention your relationship with the deceased for family members who may not know you.
If at all possible, offer to help in any way you can. The responsibility of caring for a terminally ill patient or planning a funeral takes its toll on the family members. They may kindly refuse your offer and state that they’re thankful, but that they’d rather take care of it themselves. Don’t be offended if this happens; remember, they’re still grieving and may want some privacy.
Follow up with a separate card later with a message of hope for the grieving family. You can once again offer assistance should they need it in the coming weeks. A great way to do this is to say something like “I’m here for you” or “don’t hesitate to call me if you need anything”. That way, they know you care about them and will be thinking of them as they go through the motions of loss and grief.
What Not To Write In A Sympathy Card
We as human beings tend to think that expressing empathy, rather than sympathy, is preferable in times of grieving. However, telling the person who’s grieving that you “know how [they] feel” can sometimes upset them. No one knows exactly how they feel, and they certainly don’t want to hear painful reminders of their loss like “what a horrible way to go”. Keep references to pain and death out of your sympathy card to avoid upsetting the person who’s grieving and stick to the above steps.
Thank you for reading. Come visit MeadowLawn, Funeral Home, Crematory and Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas.