I used to find sending sympathy cards hard to do because I didn’t know what to say. But over the years, I have gotten better at it.
Sometimes I have simply bought a card that seemed appropriate and signed my name. Did I feel guilty about not writing something profound in the card? No! The fact that I sent a card let the recipient know that they were in my thoughts and that I cared enough to go out and buy the card, sign my name, put it in the envelope, close it up and take it to the mailbox. I can’t imagine anyone not appreciating being thought of that much in one go.
If you are one of those people who don’t send cards because you just don’t know what to say – here is my advice – just say “thinking of you at this sad time.” You don’t have to have a long story.
Of course, if you want to share a story about the person who died – something that brings a smile to your face when you think about it, or if you want to let the mourner know that you were a friend of their loved one and how you were associated that is also appreciated. Lately a person I knew died of a heart attack. I sent a card to the grieving wife. I didn’t know her, but her husband and I had served on a committee together for a number of years, and I wanted to give my respects. In the card I told her about that association and that I always appreciated his wisdom in our discussions. We are currently in the middle of a pandemic, so I knew there wouldn’t be a service that I could attend, so I found it all the more important to send the card.
Saying nice things on Facebook is a quick way to get the message to someone, but you might want to follow it up with a card that they can hold and place on the mantel or sideboard. A paper card is something that they can keep and look at time and time again and share it with other family members. It might say the person who sent this is “old-school” but even more importantly, it says that that person you cared enough to take the action. And at times like these, that is an important thing to know.
I think “What if the card that we sent is the one that came just at the right moment? Said just the right thing? Or filled just the right void in the person’s life at that moment in time?”
When my mom died, the cards that I got were meaningful, and I have to tell you, I still have them years later! Just knowing that I was cared about by others was a tremendous gift.
July 16, 2009 Updated November 7, 2020 by Laurie Mueller