tarjetas de condolencia

Sympathy cards: what they are and how to create one

9 April 2024

It can be very comforting to receive sympathy cards when a loved one passes away. However, as the person who has lost someone is going through a process of mourning, you need to choose the right words. Here at Áltima, we will show you the best way to express your condolences.

What are sympathy cards?

When we want to show our love and support for someone who has lost a loved one, one of the best ways to do so is by sending sympathy cards. The main purpose of these cards is to express condolences after the death of a family member.

These cards usually include short notes that are intended to comfort the bereaved at this difficult time. Although you should be honest and empathetic with your words, it is not advisable to mention anything negative about the deceased person. A pleasant memory about them will always be welcomed by the recipient of the card.

Usually, sympathy cards are sent after the funeral, whether you have been able to attend or not, because that is when family members begin their grieving process and need to feel the support of their friends and relatives.

Importance of sympathy messages when grieving

Sympathy cards can serve as a therapeutic tool after the death of a loved one. Receiving loving words from family, friends, acquaintances or even strangers at a time of grief can have a great impact during the bereavement process as these messages offer support and love when people need to feel comforted.

When someone we love dies, it has a great emotional impact on us. Receiving sympathy cards also enables us to receive the affection and support we need at this time.

In a study by the Hospital Universitario La Paz (Madrid), several experts considered sympathy letters and cards to be a strategy to help people through the grieving process, as they are able to mitigate the suffering caused by the death of a loved one.

If we talk about how to overcome grief, sympathy messages can be just as important as receiving a call to offer support, a visit from a friend or attending a commemorative event in memory of the deceased.

These words that we receive during the mourning process help us to not feel so alone in our grief and give us a sense of comfort and support. Therefore, sympathy cards are a much-needed source of strength and emotional support.

Guide to making sympathy cards

In times of pain, a simple message can be of great help to someone who is suffering after the death of a loved one. That is why we have to choose the most appropriate words for sympathy cards, as the emotional well-being of the person or family we are sending our sympathy card to will depend on it.

How do you make good sympathy cards? Here is a guide on how to create sympathy cards that will bring comfort to the bereaved.

Design templates

There are many different types of sympathy cards. They can either be bought in a shop or you can make them yourself. Our advice is to make them as personalised as possible and to write your message by hand. You can use the following structure:

  1. Introduction. Start with a sentence of condolence expressing your sadness at the death of the person. For example: "My deepest sympathies" or "I am so sorry for your loss".

  2. Support. Offer your support so that the person receiving the card knows that they can rely on you in these difficult times. Use words like “count on me for whatever you need” or “I’m here for you.”

  3. Memory. Provide a brief memory of the deceased person. You can write an anecdote in a few lines. The aim is to let the recipient of your card know that their loved one is still present to those who knew them.

  4. Closing. Conclude the sympathy card with a few words of comfort. For example: “My heart is with you” or “You are in my prayers.”

Examples of designs and styles

When writing messages for sympathy cards, you need to be empathetic but, at the same time, sober. You should not add to the pain of the person who is already grieving for their loved one. It will be useful to apply these guidelines:

  • Be brief and express yourself with short sentences.

  • Use soft words like ‘loss’ and avoid harsh words like ‘death’.

  • Keep a respectful and empathetic tone.

  • Personalise the message so that it really makes sense to those who receive your card.

  • Share memories and qualities of the deceased, as that will help to convey your affection for them.

  • Avoid clichés and generic phrases as you may come across as being insincere.

  • Use a pen with blue or black ink. Avoid other colours as this is not the best time for frills.

Types of messages

You can write sympathy cards in many ways. Ideally you should use an emotional tone, but it is also possible to use humour as a way to empathise with the person receiving the message. This, of course, is only possible if it matches the personality of the deceased or if that is the way you were with each other in life.

The way you address the person will depend on how your personal relationship with them was, and, ultimately, it is you who will know the best way to show your sympathy at this difficult time.

You should never use standard phrases or messages. Personalisation is essential for your message to be really comforting and heartfelt.