Writing notes of condolence or support

Hello everyone:

While you might have been the recipient of notes of condolence or comfort, let’s take a few minutes and talk about how to write them. You have the experience of being on the receiving end; now let’s see you start to send some yourself.

First, I suggest that you not use those pre-written cards that cost an arm and a leg at the grocery store. ¬†Why? Because they are impersonal and might not reflect either your thoughts or the other person’s need. Additionally, you may be on a tight budget now that your spouse is gone, so why pay $5 or $6 for something that doesn’t fit the exact situation when you are so much better at expressing yourself than you think?

Instead, go to the store and buy a box of blank cards. They can be purchased at many grocery stores and are usually about $7-$8 for 20 blank cards that have a pretty picture on them. They can be used for a variety of reasons, from congratulations, to notes to the ill, to cards of condolence. It is the thoughts that you are expressing that are the important thing; your card will offer strength and comfort.

Your message need not be long- 3 to 5 sentences can express your concern and care for the other person. The good thing about the fact that you are writing, rather than calling or emailing, is that the receiver can reread your card as many times as he or she wants, the person did not need to log in on a computer to read it, and you did not interrupt that person with a phone call.

What do you say? Well, let’s fit it to the situation. [Please note that I am going to write that I am praying for the person because I am a member of the Christian faith. If you are not, then you could write that you are thinking of the person or hoping the individual gets well.]

Here goes: Let’s start with someone who is ill. Perhaps you would like to say something like:

Dear John:

It was quite a shock to hear about your recent surgery for pancreatic cancer. My heart goes out to you, since you are such an active person. I pray that the operation went smoothly and for your strong recovery. You and Mary are in my thoughts and prayers.



[Note: You are not trying to show that you had a surgery that was so much worse or that you had an illness that was ten times what he experienced. Nope, this is totally about John and his situation. Keep that in mind as you write.]


What if the person just lost his or her spouse due to divorce? Let’s try something like this:

Dear Susie:

It saddened me to hear that you and Mark have gotten divorced. Marriage can be difficult and its end can be devastating. I pray for you and the kids daily. If you would like to talk, I am here for you.



[Note: This is not the time to tell Susie that her hubby was a creep and that you never liked him. She was in love with him at one time; this is not the right time to tell her she has bad taste in men. Trust me, she knows it!]

What if the person’s spouse just died? Let’s go with:

Dear Al:

Sunday mornings were always special to me because I knew that Alice and I would meet up in the ladies’s room at church. Her radiant smile of greeting always warmed my heart. It was so wonderful to see the two of you together because you were so much in love, even after almost 70 years of marriage. It is those moments that I will miss the most as I think of your lovely bride. You and the kids are in my thoughts and prayers as you go through this next stage of life.



[Note: This is the time to mention what you loved the most about the missing spouse. Share some special memory in a positive light. BTW, Alice had only two teeth in her mouth (and they were crooked) but she still radiated love. ]

I hope this blog gives you some ideas for cards you can write. Handwritten notes express your thoughts so beautifully- you can do this! I would love to hear from you. Perhaps there is a special note you received that really touched your heart. When you write back, please use my name, so that it will be obvious that you aren’t spam. I look forward to hearing from you!


Dr. Sheri


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