When a friend has lost somebody close to them, we often send flowers and cards as a show of our sympathy and support. We’ve provided ideas for the best things to say aloud [link to above article] to somebody who is grieving, but what are the best ways to express sympathy in writing?
Here are some of our best suggestions for writing and sending meaningful sympathy cards:
It makes sense to write and send a sympathy card as soon as you’ve heard the news of somebody’s passing. However, if you need time to process the loss or put your feelings into words, you should feel comfortable waiting a short while to get your ducks in a row. Your kind words will be meaningful even a few weeks or months after a loss.
Choosing a sympathy card
Many greeting card retailers sell beautiful cards containing sentiments or quotations that may resonate with you. You should feel free to pick one of these, as the words contained in them may express your feelings better than you know how to at the time. But even a blank card containing your own words can be a perfect gesture. If you’re on the hunt for a good sympathy card, try these resources:
Hallmark sympathy cards
Papyrus sympathy cards
Handmade sympathy cards on Etsy
How to address a sympathy card
If you’re writing a card to a friend who’s experienced a loss, simply address your card to that friend. However, if the deceased was a friend, and you do not know the deceased’s family well, your best bet is to address the card to his or her closest relative – their spouse, for example.
What to write in a sympathy card
It’s nice to start your card with a general expression of sympathy. Try something like, “I was deeply sorry to hear about the death of your friend.”
A good next step is to recall a fond memory or story of the deceased, if you have one. Remembering or learning about the wonderful life of a lost friend can be very healing for a grieving person.
If you feel so inclined, consider adding an additional personal touch, such as a photo or meaningful quotation. A simple search online can be a great place to start, and sites such as BrainyQuote do a good job of collecting beautiful words.
There are hundreds of approaches for expressing your feelings during a difficult time, so what you need to remember is that if your message is from the heart and sincere, it will likely resonate with and be meaningful to your recipient.
Handwriting your message is generally considered most personal, so avoid typing if you can.