How to Write a Sympathy Note

In today’s world of everything- technology, you may be hard pressed to remember the last time you wrote a note or card of any kind. When the need for a sympathy note arises, it’s really not acceptable to send an email, text message or typed note. Only a handwritten sympathy card really says you care and that you took the time to express your condolences. If a friend has lost a loved one, or if someone you know has suffered a traumatic loss of some kind, you should know how to write a sympathy note that expresses your feelings of sadness or sympathy in a succinct manner. There is no need to be wordy when writing a sympathy note; keep in mind that the person to whom you’ve written is facing a difficult time, so brevity is appreciated.

Whether you live close or far, and whether you knew the deceased or not, you must always hand write a sympathy note. Writing a sympathy note is actually preferable to bringing up the loss in person or on the phone. Sharing your sympathies in public can bring up a grieving person’s feelings at a time they may not be comfortable with—for this reason, express your sentiment in a card, so it can be read in the privacy of the recipient’s home.

Writing a Sympathy Note

Writing a sympathy note is something most of us have to do at some point in our lives, and while the task is never pleasant, receiving the note may bring a moment of light to someone who has been facing a tough time. By taking the few minutes necessary to write a sympathy note, you will let someone you know that she or he is in your thoughts. Many people say the sympathy note is the hardest to pen, but if you think about what the person is going through and put yourself in her shoes, writing the card will not be difficult. Some people avoid writing a sympathy note because they don’t know what to say or are afraid of saying the wrong thing. If your words come from the heart, it’s really hard to “say the wrong thing.” Follow these steps the next time you sit down to write a sympathy note:

  1. Choose very pretty note cards if you are not going to use a sympathy card (be sure the design on the cards matches the tone of the note)
  2. Keep it short and simple—there is no need to come up with something very deep and philosophical in your sympathy note. The recipient is not expecting anything profound. Just speak your mind and share your feelings about the loss and acknowledge what the recipient must be going through.
  3. Begin by expressing your sadness at the news—“I was very sorry to hear about the death of your grandmother…”
  4. Share a memory (if applicable) because this will give the grieving recipient a few moments to recall a special moment from their childhood or to reflect on a time you shared with the deceased. If you didn’t know the deceased, you can skip this step.
  5. Don’t try to explain the loss by offering platitudes like this is “God’s will” or this was meant to be. You never know how the card’s recipient is feeling about the loss, and you don’t want to push your beliefs onto a grieving person.
  6. Don’t compare a loss you’ve suffered to theirs. This is not a time to write about the loss of your grandmother and how it affected you. No need to give advice on how to cope with the loss. Just keep the note focused on expressing your sentiment and letting the recipient he/she is in your thoughts.
  7. Close your note by offering help—just let the grieving person know you’re there is they want to talk.

Do you need to send a sympathy note? Current has a large selection of sympathy cards to fit a number of different styles.  With our selection of sympathy card packs, you’re sure to find the right card for a heartfelt occasion.

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