When a friend, family member or business associate passes away, sending a short sympathy note shows you care – yet it is often so difficult to express one’s feelings. One often doesn’t want to offend or bother or “make them feel worse.” To help, givingplants.com offers these suggestions for writing sympathy notes.
Use Pen and Paper. Email is fine for less formal communication; however, the gravity of death calls for a paper card or letter. Paper cards or letters provide memories and a sense of comfort that can aid the grieving process. They can be displayed, or saved in keepsake album or box.
Write Carefully. Handwrite, don’t type, to offer a more personal touch. Use black or blue ink. To avoid mistakes, write a “first draft” on a separate piece of paper that be copied on the final card or piece of stationery.
Mind the Details. Confirm the spelling of the recipients’ first and last names. To misspell a name shows disrespect. Sign your own first and last name – with a reference to your business relationship or community relationship if that is how you knew them.
For Intimate Friends and Family. A more detailed, intimate note appropriate if you were very close to the deceased, or to the bereaved. Share a memory or story about the deceased to emphasize their importance to you. An original or inspiring poem or prayer can bring comfort in this difficult time.
For Business Associates and Acquaintances. A short, simple note is all that is required. Making a special point about them is lovely if it feels natural and heartfelt. A short note is also appropriate when sending a gift such as a donation, plant or food basket.
Avoid Clichés. The grieving processes is very personal. One should not presume to know “what is best” for those who are mourning a loss.
Stay In Touch. Death is hard for those left behind; depression, paperwork and loneliness can make it difficult for the bereaved to embrace life. An email, plant gift, food basket, or even another note is a non-invasive way to say you care. If you have a more personal connection with the bereaved, an offer to babysit, cook a meal, or clean house can make their lives a little easier during this difficult time.
SAMPLE SYMPATHY NOTES
I am sorry for your loss.
You are in our thoughts during this time
We are praying for you during this time. Our heartfelt condolences for your loss.
We are praying that you find peace
We loved ____ and will keep a special place in our hearts for his/her memory.
___ made us laugh when he visited the office. He touched our lives with his humor.
___ was a source of inspiration to me. I will never forget her!
___ spent her life serving others. I am thankful to have known her.
WHAT NOT TO SAY
I know how you must be feeling.
I know what you must be going through.
Everything happens for a reason
You will get over this in time
Remember, when giving a gift, it is the personal intention behind it that counts most.