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How to Write a Sympathy Card

Tuesday, May 2, 2017
After someone dies, a sympathy card is a nice way to remind their loved ones that you cared. Follow these 5 tips to find success when writing sympathy cards.

1. Address the card to the person you know

You don't need to address the entire family in your sympathy card, unless you know everyone. Address the card to the spouse or family member you know. You can always include a line that extends your thoughts to the rest of the family.

2. Keep it short

The pressure to come up with a heartfelt, sincere message can stress people out. In reality, you don't need to write anything lengthy. Short and simple is perfectly fine. Three paragraphs is a good rule of thumb for length, as a longer message can get lost.

3. Be yourself

The family will cherish when you share what you loved about the deceased. Share a personal story or funny anecdote that shows you cared and bring a smile to their faces.

4. End with a sincere sentiment

There are two traditional ways to conclude a sympathy card: With an offer to help or with a sincere gesture. If you want to help, make a specific offer such as bringing food. Otherwise your offer may be overlooked by overwhelmed family members.

5. Keep your handwriting easy to read

If you have messy handwriting, take your time and make the extra effort to write neatly, so the family will read your sincere thoughts and know who to thank for the card.

These 5 simple steps will help you express your condolences any time you need to, decreasing the worry over saying the wrong thing that can make some people hesitant to share through thoughts with the family during such a difficult time.

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