If you’re wondering what to write in a sympathy card, you’re probably also wondering if you should do it in the first place. Though inevitable, the death of a loved one can drastically change our lives. Grief is a difficult process that we all eventually go through and we’re never truly prepared for it. Something that makes this process a bit easier to digest is sympathy from friends and family. We need support from friends and family, so when someone you know and care about is coping with the death of a loved one, it’s only natural to want to let them know we are there for them and that we care about them.
There are many ways to show support to your mourning friend. First of all, reach out to your friend. Letting them know you’re there for them is the best thing you can do. While everyone processes grief differently, having a friend there listening and supporting you can make the process a bit easier. Checking on your friend, helping them get things done, making sure they eat and sleep well, are all kind gestures you can do to show how much you care.
What is a sympathy card?
One of the things you can do to show your support is writing an honest, personal, and handwritten sympathy card to pay your respects. Your friend can rely on this card for comfort whenever they’re feeling down. In order to write a respectful and sympathetic card, you need to be as honest as you can. The impersonal message that is written by a florist won’t really speak to your friend, so it’s best you take your time to really think about the message you want to give. A sympathy card is a card you give to express your condolences. Remember that there’s no right or wrong way to show your condolences. Nonetheless, we’ll provide you with some things to keep in mind to help you know what to write in a sympathy card.
Think about the recipient
Is your grieving friend religious? Perhaps he’s not. The tone and style of the sympathy card should match the person you’re giving it to. It’s important you make this letter as personal as you can to ensure it comes from an honest and authentic place. Think about who your friend is and trust your instinct.
Handwrite the letter
The fact that you’re sitting down, grabbing a pen, and writing it down on paper shows the time and effort you’re putting behind the message. You may also text them or email them, but don’t forget to send them a card. They’ll appreciate it.
Mention the person who died
If you knew the person, mention something positive you noticed about them, things you liked about them or a fond memory you have of them. All these things honor the memory of the deceased and can be comforting to your friend. In case you didn’t know the person, you could mention the positive impact this person had on your friend and how important they were for them too.
Let your friend know that you’re there for them when they need to be heard and comforted. Help them with small tasks if you can. Cooking them a meal, walking their dogs, offer to babysit, these are all small things you can do to show your friend that you’re part of their support network.
Things to avoid
Don’t tell your friend that you know how they feel, this letter is for your grieving friend so don’t make it about you. Saying “things will get better” is very impersonal so avoid saying it. Don’t say that they’re in a better place and avoid talking about the tragedy – how the person died, how much they were suffering, etc.
Send an anniversary card
Remember to check in with your friend. Most people receive sympathy cards when a loved one passed away but on the anniversary date, fewer people send these letters. Remember that your friend lost someone important to them and they’ll never really stop hurting. Show your friend you truly care and be there for them, that’s the best support you can give.