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What to Do When Someone Dies – Say the Right Thing in a Sympathy Card

A friend or family member of a friend has just died. And you are wondering what to do when someone dies.

You want to let your friend know that you are aware of their pain, that you are thinking about them, that you know they are having a hard time right now. You decide that sending a sympathy card would be something that you could do. You go to the store, you purchase a card that says something that makes sense to you and also to your friend. And now you are sitting at home thinking “Now what? What do I write on the card?” I want to recommend that just signing your name is not enough. That putting a few personal words about how you feel about the person or the person who died is important. It could be as simple as “I’m thinking about you at this time” to something longer and more personal.

Sometimes, if a person has had a death in their family and have received sympathy cards, they can remember back to what others said that made a difference to them and they can use that as a guide. But that isn’t always the case. Often times a person is lucky enough that there have been no deaths in their family or close circle and so you have no idea what to do when someone dies.   So let me tell you about my experiences. 

My mother died a few years ago and I received sympathy cards.  I received sympathy cards from friends, family, people I worked with, and people that worked with my husband. It was very comforting receiving each and everyone of those cards. I highly recommend sending cards because it helped me to remember that even though my mother had died, there were people still here on earth that loved or cared about me! But then I am such a feeling person! It is a good thing to do and what to do when someone dies.

When my husband’s father died, he also received sympathy cards. This morning I asked him if they were meaningful to him. His response was that any kind of acknowledgment is important to him. The cards that he received with just a name of them didn’t really mean anything to him. However if someone wrote him a note that had more meaning. He also said it was just as meaningful to have a phonecall or a personal interaction with a person. A plain card wasn’t that meaningful to him.

It is important to think about your friend and think about what would be meaningful and helpful and comforting to them. The common thread between my husband and me is that we are thought of and acknowledged. The method differs slightly.

So here are some words to get you started:

“I knew your mother and always enjoyed a visit with her. I will miss that. “

“I worked with your father for many years and we made quite a difference in that company working together on many projects! It was a surprise and a shock to learn of his death. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.” 

“Although I will be out of town on the day of the funeral I just wanted you to know that I will be thinking of you. We’ll get together when I am home again.”

“Megan made me laugh. She would often dress up in funny hats and wear them to work because she said our office was too somber. How we will miss her laughter and her ability to make us laugh!”

Even though I never met your mother, I know how much she meant to you. Remember that you have many friends surrounding you and caring about you.”

If you knew the person who has just passed away, you might tell a little story about that person.  Here is an example of what I might have sent to my cousin when his mother died:

 “Your mother was the hostess of the Island. Whenever we visited the island, of course we would stop at Margaret’s house. We’d have morning coffee and freshly baked buns at her kitchen table. Usually we wouldn’t be the only company at that table.  I remember her standing over her counter, scooping flour out of her specially designed flour cupboard and intent on making her next batch of buns. She always was smiling and she always had an optimistic perspective of life. I can still hear her telling me that “Deek (the old Labrador Retriever) wasn’t a house dog – one swing of his tail and he would wipe the coffee table clean!” I laugh every time I hear her words in my head.”

You don’t have to write an essay. You may choose a few good words about keeping the person in your thoughts and prayers or about missing the person who died. Whatever you say, be sure it comes from the heart.

I hope that this short article will help you know what to do when someone dies and give you a start to writing sympathy cards that will be meaningful to the people who receive them. 

Read more about what to do when someone you love dies [http://www.easyfuneralspeeches.com/What%20To%20Do%20When%20Someone%20You%20Love%20Dies.html].

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