What To Include In A Sympathy Card

What To Include In A Sympathy Card

It can feel overwhelming to write a sympathy card.  Some people are naturally gifted at finding the right words.  I don't consider myself to be one of those people, but I have received, read, and written countless sympathy messages that gave me comfort during the most difficult moments.

When I lost my brother to suicide, my family and I found a lot of comfort in reading the cards, letters, and messages from friends near and far.  We kept every single card that was sent to us and re-read them on his death date 5 years later. 


Include a personal story

If you knew the deceased well enough to write a personal story, this is special for the family to read about.  With my brother, it was comforting to read both stories that I already knew and stories that I'd never heard previously, even if it was just a one liner.  For example "Justin and I went to Golden Cafe about a month ago and it felt like we laughed for hours. This is a memory I'll cherish forever."

If you don't have any personal stories, you could include something that you admired about the deceased.  For example, "I always admired Justin's tenacity, a trait that I realized he had from you telling me about his business endeavors over the years."


Some helpful phrases:

If you are having a hard time finding the right words, say that. "It's hard to find the right words to sum up how deeply heartbroken I am for the loss of (insert the deceased person's name)."



"Grief is the price we pay for love"

"Grief is love with no where to go"


Include a poem

"On the Death of the Beloved" - John O'Donohue


The Thought Really Does Count

Overall, don't put too much pressure on yourself; sometimes it wasn't about the words but it was comforting just knowing that you the sender is thinking about that person. 

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