No one likes writing a sympathy card. What do I say? How do I say it? What if my words are wrong?

Sometimes it’s hard to find the perfect words, but being genuine goes a long way. And writing a sympathy card is a small thing you can do to make someone who is grieving feel loved and supported.

Here are some simple dos and don’ts for writing a sympathy card.



… pick a simple card. Don’t leave all the words to someone else. It might be tempting to pick a card with a long, printed message but it won’t mean as much to the recipient. A simple card that allows you to include a longer personal note will be a lot more meaningful. It shows you have really taken the time to personalise your message.

… handwrite your message. We live in a world of email and text messages, but this is one time when it’s important to pick up a pen and send a message by snail mail. It’s not uncommon for people to keep the sympathy cards they receive and find comfort in them as they are progressing through their grief. An email or text message just isn’t the same.

… mention the person who has passed. All too often we focus our message exclusively on the person receiving the card. Don’t forget to remember special qualities of the person who has died or mention a special memory. This can go a long way to bringing comfort.



… offer something you can’t deliver on. There are lots of ways you can offer support to a person who is grieving, but don’t offer something you can’t follow through on. It can be very hard for someone grieving to ask for help, so you don’t want to let them down.

… write something impersonal. A personal message is crucial. No matter how tough it is, write something from the heart. It will go further than a Hallmark message.

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