How to Write a Sympathy Card to a Grieving Person

How to Write a Sympathy Card to a Grieving Person

When someone close to us dies, we often struggle to find the right words to express our sorrow and support for the grieving family.

However, a letter of condolence or a sympathy card can go a long way toward offering your support for grief.

Just a few well-chosen words may convey to the bereaved how much you care about them and how much their loved one meant to the world.

It's important to take a few things into account before you begin to write a sympathy card to a grieving person.

One factor that can make a sympathy card feel heartfelt to the reader can depend on how personal it is.

When you take the time to write a letter expressing your sympathies, it shows you really care because you took the time to write it down in words.

In sympathy cards, offering your support or offering to help the bereaved is a step further, showing how far you are willing to go to help them.

Doing that will help them feel comforted, knowing that they are not alone and that they have those willing to help around them.

Also, by honoring the dead in your sympathy card, you are helping the bereaved feel much better about the good times the deceased enjoyed.

It will help them appreciate the life lived and not focus only on the loss they are experiencing.

Here are more details on suggestions to help you write a sympathy card to a grieving person.

Grief & Loss Therapists in Colorado

Kimberly Nefflen, LPCC

Kimberly Nefflen, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Holly Bradbury, LPC

Holly Bradbury, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Joshua Goldberg, LPCC

Joshua Goldberg, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Sherry Rice, LPCC, ADDC

Sherry Rice, LPCC, ADDC

Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Melvin Lee, LPCC

Melvin Lee, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Jasleen Karir, SWC

Jasleen Karir, SWC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Jackie Erwin, LPC

Jackie Erwin, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Paitton Callery, LPC, ATR-P

Paitton Callery, LPC, ATR-P

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Mikayla Braukhoff, LPC

Mikayla Braukhoff, LPC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Jenifer Seas, LCSW

Jenifer Seas, LCSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374

Make it Personal 

In times of loss, a personal, handwritten note may mean a great deal to the recipient.

Writing the letter by hand is far more heartfelt than typing it or purchasing a condolence card, but you may still want to do the latter.

It's not necessary to put a lot of time into composing a letter so long as it comes from the heart.

We all fear saying the wrong thing and adding to the bereaved's pain, yet expressing your concern via even a few words is preferable to saying nothing at all.

The letter might be sent to a single grieving individual or to the whole family.

Offer Your Support 

Include in the sympathy card your readiness to provide a hand if it is required.

Don't tell them to let you know if they need help; rather, offer practical help.

Those in grief will most likely have a lot on their plates and would appreciate any help you can provide, even if they refuse it.

Offer to assist around the home by doing things like cooking, food shopping, or babysitting the kids.

This will provide them some breathing space while they grieve the death of a loved one.

Just be cautious not to make any promises that you cannot keep.

People who have lost a loved one may just want an ear to talk to or a shoulder to weep on.

Honor the Memory of the Deceased 

As a first step, remember the deceased without focusing on the circumstances of their passing.

Acknowledge the loss and offer your genuine sympathies instead.

Simply stated, mention the departed person's name in your letter.

The very act of uttering or hearing the name of the departed may provide solace and help keep them close to the mourning person.

In any case, you should talk about the times you spent with the departed.

It's understandable to want to save the mourning individual from a long note, but you can use the opportunity to mention something meaningful about the departed.

Those who are grieving have a unique interest in hearing the memories of their loved ones.

They want to see the departed as others do.

Hearing about the deceased's achievements and the joy they brought to others may be a source of solace for the living.

Your sympathy card will be much enriched by the inclusion of such specific and sincere anecdotes.

Avoid Giving Advice 

Advice on what a mourning person "should or shouldn't do" is best avoided when you write a sympathy card to a grieving person.

At times of extreme emotional turmoil, unsolicited counsel might have the unintended consequence of making the individual grieving feel even worse.

A better strategy would be to express sympathy and affirm their feelings while encouraging them to take whatever steps they believe are necessary to recover.

It's enough to just show your sympathy and allow the bereaved space to speak rather than attempting to provide advice or tell them how they're going to feel.

They will eventually come to you if they want your guidance or to learn from your experiences. 

Mind What You Say

Even while everyone experiences loss, the way we express it and cope with it is different.

It is important that we remember not to "rush" individuals through their mourning when we write a sympathy card to a grieving person.

Avoid using words or phrases that make light of the tragedy.

The pain of losing someone is difficult to bear.

Avoid platitudes like "they're in a better place" or "everything happens for a reason" while trying to comfort someone who has experienced a loss.

Holidays, anniversaries, and other significant dates remind us that grieving is an ongoing process.

We learn to live with our loss forever rather than overcome it.

When it comes to mourning, there are no deadlines.

Be patient, provide words of encouragement, and most of all, be there with those who are mourning.

Conclusion

Regardless of your final decision, please remember that a heartfelt expression of sympathy need not be lengthy.

A brief sympathy card is just as warm as a longer one.

Just because there's a blank space on the card doesn't mean you have to utilize it all.

What matters most is that you are showing your support for grief to the grieving person in your life and sharing your thoughts.

Some tips on how to write a sympathy card to a grieving person include: making it a personal sympathy card, offering your support, honoring the memory of the deceased, avoiding giving advice, and minding what you say.

Resources 

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July 14th, 2024

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