It can be difficult at the best of times to find the right words when someone is experiencing grief and loss. But even though it’s not easy, it is important to reach out, and a sympathy card is a powerful and meaningful way to do this.
Whilst your words won’t take away the pain and suffering of loss that someone feels, they will go a long way towards helping the grieving person feel loved and supported during this tough time.
Here are some tips to help you come up with the right words for a sympathy card…
Do send a physical card. In the age of social media, it seems so much easier to click a sad-face emoji rather than actually put pen to paper. But when it comes to a sympathy card, a tangible note is more sincere and heartfelt.
Not to mention it gives the grieving party something to hold on to and revisit when they need the support.
It’s OK to not know what to say. Being honest about not knowing what to say will be far more helpful to the recipient than filling the space with a cliche such as “He’s in a better place” or “She died doing what she loved”.
Sometimes those who’ve lost someone appreciate that even though you’re finding it difficult, you’ve still taken the time and effort to support them.
Share a good memory. You may be wondering what you write if you’re to avoid cliches, well, the answer is simple; share a good memory you had of the person. Sharing a warm, uplifting memory can bring an enormous amount of comfort to the recipient.
You Don’t Know How They Feel
You don’t know how they feel. It’s natural that you will draw comparisons to how you felt when you lost a loved one, but now is not the time to share your feelings of loss. Everyone experiences grief differently and while you may have felt one way, the person who’s receiving your card may be feeling things in a different way.
Be you. It’s easy to get caught up in what we think people want to hear that we forget to keep it real. So many sympathy cards are full of standard phrases that breaking out of that mould with some real, straight-talking can be a relief.
Offer help. Try to go beyond the standard “always here if you need anything” line and offer practical help. This will be extremely helpful to those who may want to reach out for help but find it difficult to ask. An example would be “I can babysit for a few hours” or “I’ll bring some food over on Wednesday for you and the children”.
Write, even if you weren’t close friends. You don’t have to be best friends with someone to be upset at their passing, so reaching out even if you weren’t that close can mean a great deal to the family.
There’s No Time Limit On Sympathy
Finally, there’s no time limit on sympathy. You may feel as though you need to send a card straight away but many mourners are more likely to need to the support a few months down the line. Don’t worry that you have let the opportunity slip away because you think you have left it too late. It’s never too late. That little reminder that you’re still thinking about the person whether it be three, six or twelve months later can mean so much.