The Benefits of Sympathy Cards…From a Convert

I have a confession…I hated sympathy cards and stopped sending them a few years ago.  I know how bad this sounds.  And, yes, I’ve been wracked with guilt for not sending them.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve expressed my condolences to my friends with a phone call or face-to-face conversation. But, I just couldn’t send a sympathy card.  I have a list of reasons why and they seem pretty lame in hindsight…couldn’t find a card which captured my true emotions, didn’t know what to write, didn’t want to just sign my name, agonized for so long it was too late to send the card, etc.

A few weeks ago my friend Claire said something which changed my outlook on the sympathy card. She told me how much she loved rereading (not reading but rereading) the kind words people wrote about her father.  Just the way she said it, I knew that these cards were very special to her and something she would have forever.  I can’t thank Claire her enough for her honesty given that I didn’t send her a sympathy card.

So last week without hesitating, I sent a coworker/friend a sympathy card after her father passed away.  I wanted to recognize how truly sad I was for her loss and that I was thinking of her.  I know the card is meant for the recipient but honestly it was a bit of therapy for me.  The other day, I received a thank you card with the most lovely photo of her father and a kind note.  I have a newfound appreciation on the value of sympathy cards.

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