Appropriate Expressions of Sympathy
With the loss of a friends or relative, it can often be difficult to know exactly what to do or say. We find ourselves stumbling over words, wondering if a certain gift is appropriate, or dealing with our own grief and not knowing how to express it. Because this is a difficult time for everyone, we thought we would share some basic sympathy etiquette.
- Send the card as soon as you hear the news. You may wish to keep a few cards at all times to save a trip to the store and ensure the card get mailed right away.
- If you knew the deceased but not the family, send the card to the closest living relative, usually a spouse or eldest child. Make sure to sign your first and last name, and print a return address on the back.
- Keep the message short and heartfelt and refrain from phrases such as “I know how you feel”. Simply express that you are sorry for the loss. If you were very close to the deceased, you can share a short memory or story that makes you smile.
- Sending flowers is customary and relays sentiments without having to come up with the right words. If you send flowers to the funeral home, a wreath or spray is appropriate. You may wish to add a banner to indicate your relationship, such as “Uncle” or “Grandfather”.
- If you heard the news after the services are completed, sending flowers to the family’s home is considered proper etiquette. A bouquet of flowers or a plant are both suitable for a home delivery.
- Any flower or color is appropriate to send; if you know a specific flower that was special to the deceased, have the arrangement created around that.
- Sending or bringing food to the home of the closest relative is always appreciated. If you drop by unannounced, simply drop the food with the expectation of leaving.
- If the family asks for donations to be sent to a charitable organization in lieu of flowers, that is the appropriate gift for the memorial service. If you still wish to send flowers to express condolences, it is considered proper etiquette to send to the family home, not the service.
- Depending on your relationship to the family, you may wish to send flowers throughout the year. Let them know you are still thinking of them, especially on birthdays or holidays.
Ron and Alicia Robinson Florist is honored to work with you in choosing the right flowers to memorialize your loved one. We are sorry for your loss.