How to craft a condolence card?
March 26, 2008 8:22 PM   Subscribe

My girlfriend's grandfather has just died. I would like to send some flowers to her mother and her grandmother, but in this kind of situation I never know what to say on the cards that sounds sincere without being too sentimental.

I'd like to send two bouquets. The will be to her mother, which I'll send in the morning. I would also like to send a second either to her grandmother directly or to the funeral. Any ideas on which would be most appropriate?

But my main question: what do I say on the cards? I didn't know her grandfather well, since he hasn't been in great shape the last few years, but I'm not sure that's even relevant. The problem I have is that "My condolences" seems not personal enough, "My sincere condolences" seems insincere," etc.

How do you convey your personal sympathies briefly, sincerely, in a manner that will be appreciated?
posted by Dasein to Human Relations (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Say whatever is in your will be appreciated...

I usually just state something like "my thoughts are with you in this difficult time."

Don't overthink this, you'll do fine....
posted by HuronBob at 8:26 PM on March 26, 2008

Best answer: "I'm so sorry for your loss, you have my deepest sympathy."
posted by headspace at 8:26 PM on March 26, 2008

Best answer: Dear Edna

I'm very sorry to learn of your sad loss of Frank, and I wanted to write a short note to let you know that I am thinking of you at this time.

Warm regards



Keep it really short and don't presume that you know how they feel.
posted by mattoxic at 8:29 PM on March 26, 2008 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Don't overdo it. Everyone wants to be original and perceptive and say something really apt and helpful... but honestly, when you've lost someone you love nothing people can say will help much, while saying the wrong thing can make things worse. So just say one of the tried and true phrases mentioned in the posts prior to mine.
posted by orange swan at 8:31 PM on March 26, 2008

Best answer: "I'm really sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you.

Sincerely, ____"
posted by eleyna at 8:52 PM on March 26, 2008

Best answer: Don't worry too much about this, people realize you don't know what to say and saying something polite, if cliche, is fine. You are putting in the effort to send flowers and let them know you are thinking of them, just say how sorry/deepest condolences/etc it really doesn't matter what. And remember just because it's old fashioned and a little cliche, doesn't make it insincere.
posted by whoaali at 8:57 PM on March 26, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. That's just what I needed. Much appreciated.
posted by Dasein at 9:02 PM on March 26, 2008

If you want to make it more personal, you could add something like "I am glad I got to know [grandfather] through the loving remembrances of [girlfriend]." Seems like both the mother and grandmother would appreciate that. And if you have specific anecdotes from said girlfriend that would seem appropriate, and it's a full-size card rather than just a flower tag, you could elaborate.
posted by bwanabetty at 9:11 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]

Just let them know you are sorry and you are thinking of them. When I lost my son, that's really all I wanted to know.
posted by wv kay in ga at 10:47 PM on March 26, 2008

In terms of flowers, her grandmother may end up with them in her house either way. My grandfather passed away last month and my mom received a lot of flowers at the house, but then when we got to the funeral home there were a lot there too. After the services, they handed those flowers to us.
I suppose the main difference is, at the funeral the whole family wanders around and looks at the cards on the flowers to see who they're from. Sending flowers to the home is slightly more "private" (for lack of a better word).

I also agree with everyone on the card. It's just nice to know people are thinking about you, even if they use cliches, it didn't matter to us, anyway.
posted by jdl at 5:08 AM on March 27, 2008

I was going to say wait about a month, then send the flowers to let her know you're still thinking about her. You get a lot of attention up front... then not so much. And you've got plenty of good suggestions on what to say.
posted by dpx.mfx at 7:14 AM on March 27, 2008

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