After my parents died a few years ago, going to the mailbox became a highlight of my day. I treasured every expression of kindness I received there.
In this age of Facebook condolences (which are still great—keep those up, too!), I hope sending sympathy cards never becomes a dying art.
Here are 5 ways you can help someone through a loss by simply mailing a card.
1. MAKE IT PERSONAL
Write something by hand, even if it’s just restating the stamped message (i.e., I’m sorry for your loss). A personal touch makes a card special. I received these notes on a card from 6th graders we had taught in Bible class. They’re priceless.
2. SHARE A MEMORY
If you knew the deceased, tell about an experience you shared together. It may be brand new to their loved one. They would love to hear it.
3. SPREAD THE WORD
If you share the same faith, write out a comforting Bible verse in your card. My friend Louise sent me numerous cards and on every one, she included a scripture that was special to her and would be special to me. Keep a list of scriptures for such a time as this.
4. SHOW SOME LOVE
If you mean it, sign your card: “Love, ___.” Your friend won’t think you’re sappy; he/she will appreciate your sentiment. Feeling loved is the most comforting gift they can receive from you.
5. MAIL IT ANY TIME
Don’t think you missed the moment if you haven’t sent a card in the first week or two. You haven’t. There’s a very long open window to send a sympathy card. Sometimes the card that arrives much later is valued even more because it’s the only one in a lonely mailbox after weeks or months of drought.
If you’ve been blessed by receiving cards in the mail, you know what I’m talking about.
If you’re one of the blessed ones who already sends those cards, may God bless you doubly for doing so.
And if you’re one who thinks about it, but never quite gets around to it, buy a box of cards, a book of stamps, and start a new habit.
You won’t regret it.
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Who in your life is exceptionally good at sending cards? How are you at it? Please share in the comments.
revised from the archives
- Who gets the last word?
- A year from homeless