The Friendly Funeralista

Archive for the ‘condolence cards’ Category

Sometines, people are unable to go and see the bereaved family face-to-face when a death occurs.  If this is the case for you, don’t miss the opportunity to acknowledge a death.  Write a card or letter of sympathy (also known as a condolence card).  You will feel great having extended this kindness,  and the family will be so appreciative that you took the time to write.  Here are some ideas:

1.  Think about a wonderful memory that you have of the deceased.  If you don’t know the deceased, think about a wonderful memory you share with the family member to whom you are writing.  You are going to share this memory with the family in your card.

2. Go and get a card — email is great for business, but in this case, go the extra mile and get a card — preferably blank inside with some sort of picture on the front that represents the memory you are going to write about.

3. Let me give you an example here …

my good friend in high school often tells me that she remembers when our school hosted their annual Father/Daughter dinner and dance.  Unfortunately, her father could not attend and my Dad could see how disappointed she was that she did not have a Dad for an escort.  Dad and I discussed it, and decided that I would attend with my big brother and that he would escort my friend.  Here is an example of how that memory would translate into a sympathy card.

On a card with a picture of a couple dancing I would write:

January 2010 (always date your card … the family may choose to keep this and re-read when they are having a sad day)

Dear Kate:

I was so sorry to hear about your Dad’s death, he was such a wonderful man who made a big difference in my life.  I remember when we were in high school and he took me to the Father/Daughter dance.  He recognized that I would have been left out of the fun and made sure that I had a Father that evening.  As an added benefit, he also taught me how to dance to Count Basie!  I remember him telling me before we went into the party, that I was to take his arm, to stand up straight, shoulders back, bosom out (I didn’t even know at the time what a bosom was!).  I felt like a princess on his arm, but more than that I had his assurance that I was beautiful, poised and valued.  I still remember your Dad’s advice (stand up straight, shoulders back …) whenever I go into a situation where I am uncomfortable and unsure of myself.  Making that small change in posture continues to give me confidence today.   I will remember him always.

4.  In the instance where you don’t know the deceased but want to comfort a member of the family I would suggest writing about a memory you have of your friend.  For example:

Dear Kate:

I was so sorry to hear about the death of your Dad, I wish I had known him better.  I do however know you and remember the time when you encouraged me to audition for the school play.  You worked with me for weeks going over the audition script and music until I mastered it.  I got up in front of that audition committee and aced it!  You gave me the confidence to overcome my fears and I sang and acted my heart out (and got the part, too!).  All of us are reflections of the people who have raised us.  Your Dad taught you well and I have benefitted.  I hope that you are able to see your way through this difficult time and can get up tomorrow, as I did so many years ago, to overcome your fear and sadness. Kate, your Dad raised a brave and generous woman and that is a wonderful legacy.

5.  If you do not have the address of the family, contact the funeral home that looked after the funeral arrangements.  They won’t be able to give out the address of the family (privacy laws), but will offer to forward your card.

Well my friends, that’s how to write a great sympathy card.  This has been a very cathartic exercise for me this morning, as I have had a few tears remembering my Dad who died 10 years ago.  He loved to dance, loved the colour red, ladies in hats and cried whenever he heard Peggy Lee sing or went to a parade.  He did take my friend to the Father/Daugher dance and toasted the Bride at her wedding.  Today, girls,  let’s all remember to stand up straight, shoulders back, bosom out and feel like princesses.

 


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