After Waverly, NY cremations, people begin buying and writing sympathy cards to the family who’s lost a loved one. Sympathy cards are intended to express support, comfort, and empathy, so the words that are written should reflect those things.
One of the traps of sympathy cards is the sympathy card with a long poem in it. The greeting card industry, like most other writing industries, sources these kinds of cards to people who get paid to do it. Often, the messages are trite and lack the warmth and sympathy of a personal note. Too often, people who want to express sympathy buy one of these cards and simply sign their names, then send them.
It’s helpful to put yourself in the shoes of the family who’s lost someone dear to them. How would you feel if you received a card like this? To people who are grieving, a card like this can convey the message that the sender didn’t care enough to write anything themselves, sent the card out of duty and not care and concern, or that the sender was simply to busy to be bothered with more than a signature.
None of this may be true, but that can be the effect of sending a card like this. It is best to get a simple sympathy card that is blank inside and includes a handwritten note. It can be an expression of condolence on the family’s loss or it can be a cherished memory of the deceased. It doesn’t need to be long, but it needs to be heartfelt.
Avoid offensive clichés like “I know how you feel” or “it’s all for the best.” You may have an idea of how the family feels, but you may not actually know how they feel. It’s better to use phrases like, “I can imagine…” instead. Telling a family that losing a loved one is all for the best is literally a slap to their emotions. It doesn’t feel that way to them, and it comes across as heartless and callous.
Many people include these in sympathy cards, not meaning to hurt or offend anyone. So it’s important to take your time and think through your words carefully before you write a sympathy card.
If you’re sending a sympathy card, but you know only one member of the deceased’s family, address the card to them. Write personally to that person, but extend your thoughts to the rest of the family.
Conclude your sympathy card with a sentence that makes the family – or person you know – aware of your concern and that also opens the door for them to contact you if they need something (don’t be vague with “if you need anything, just let me know;” instead, be specific with something like “I’m in the neighborhood on X day so I can pick up groceries or drop off dry cleaning, if you need me to.”) or they just need to talk. These are gestures that many people forget to include in sympathy cards and it can leave the family feeling like they’re all alone after they’ve read all the sympathy cards because there’s no extended invitation to reach out if they need to.
Be sure your handwriting is easy to read. If your cursive writing looks like a doctor’s signature, then print your note. Also, be sure to sign with your full name, because a lot of Bill’s, Mary’s, John’s, and Ann’s may be sending sympathy cards. You can also include your cell number and an email address in case the family wants to contact you later (this is optional).
If you’d like more help with writing sympathy cards after Waverly, NY cremations, talk with our knowledgeable and compassionate team at Roberts Funeral Home for guidance. You can visit our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can contact us today at (607) 734-7811.