Funeral Home Services

Sympathy Cards and Funeral Etiquette

Sympathy Cards are simple but meaningful ways to show your concern and let someone know you are thinking of them during their time of sorrow.  A few simple points of combining Sympathy Cards with funeral etiquette should be considered when wishing someone well during this difficult time.

Key Funeral Etiquette Considerations for Sympathy Cards

Sympathy Cards are a thoughtful way to express your concern when someone has experienced a loss.  Thoughtful and easily shared, we hope you will consider these points of etiquette when expressing your sympathy.

Keep it Simple

There is no need to write a lengthy note on your card.  A simple message that lets someone know you are there for them in their time of sorrow is best.  So generally speaking, it can be best to keep your message as simple as possible.

A Few Appropriate Messages to Consider:

“I’m very sorry to hear of your loss. You are in my thoughts during this difficult time.
“Please accept my condolences.  My thoughts and prayers are with you.”
“I send my sympathies to you during this difficult time.”

Identify Yourself

Often extended family members may share incoming cards of sympathy.  Always be sure to include your first and last name, as cards may get separated from their mailing envelopes.  Keep in mind that although you may know the deceased, the family may not know you.  It may also be wise to include a simple line that says how you know the deceased.

Nice Memory

This would be a perfect time to add a special thought or memory to your card.  Family members will almost always enjoy reading something that shares a special remembrance or happy memory you may have experienced with the deceased.


Everyone experiences grief and loss differently, so do your best to avoid sharing your personal feelings and experiences.  You may think you are being helpful, but it is best to avoid these issue entirely.  Also, try not to proclaim that you know how they feel, and we also strongly discourage you from suggesting that the deceased is “better off”.


Mailing sympathy cards should be done in a timely manner, just as soon as you hear of the death.  You may choose to deliver it in person, but often the mourning family may be in no position to accept company.  Therefore, although your personal visit may be well-intentioned, mailing condolence cards is the most thoughtful way to share your concerns immediately.

Even if you hear of the death significantly after the fact, bereavement cards are always welcomed.  It is also appropriate to send Thinking of You Cards from time to time, just to let someone know they are still in your thoughts.

Cultural Concerns

Unless you know the decreased very well, it may not be appropriate to include mention of prayers or God, since you may not be familiar with their religious preferences.  It is usually best to avoid specifics and keep your message simple and heartfelt.

Professional Losses

Just as with loved ones who pass, there can be instances of loss within your company, client base, or even within each of their personal lives.  It is always appropriate to extend your sympathetic concerns, and corporate or business sympathy cards are a professional way to accomplish this.  Follow the points of funeral etiquette mentioned above and send business sympathy cards to all of those you know who have experienced a loss.  Your heartfelt compassion will be warmly received.

Thank You

It is appropriate to send thank you cards to those that have expressed their concerns to you through thoughtful gifts, funeral flowers, or through donations in the name of the deceased.  Personalized thank you cards can be sent immediately to acknowledge their receipt, and you can also follow-up with a more personal note in the future when time permits.  Normally the giver should not expect a formal thank you, but a gracious deed should not go unnoticed.

Many people choose not to send sympathy cards, simply because they do not know what to say.  However, always remember that it is not necessarily so important what you say as is the act of sending such a card.  By sending sympathy cards, you are simply making a gesture that says you are thoughtful and caring.  In addition, simply signing your name to a pre-versed card may be enough to let those important to you know that you are thinking of them during their time of sorrow.

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