Sympathy Etiquette: What to Send When Someone Passes Away?

When someone passes away, it’s important to send a sympathy card and/or gift to acknowledge the grieving person’s pain. In order to honor the deceased and send your condolences to the grieving individual or family, you can send a thoughtful gift or sympathy card as soon as you hear the news of a death or you can wait until the funeral. When it comes to letting someone know that you care about their loss, always take appropriate measures to show sympathy.

elegant sympathy card with condolence message

What to Send When Someone Dies?

Dealing with a death can be hard and often times we’re unsure of what to do or say. However, there are a variety of ways to comfort a loved one, friend, or associate who is grieving. You should always send a card with a message at the very least or pair your card with a sympathy gift.

  1. Send a sympathy card with a sympathy message. Always send a meaningful card with a condolence message or a sympathy quote to express your sympathy for those who are grieving. Kind words go a long way during this fragile period of time.
  2. Send a beautiful sympathy basket full of gourmet foods and specialized treats. The grieving individual or family will enjoy and appreciate the usefulness of this gift.
  3. Send a flower bouquet for a funeral. You can follow tradition and send a flower bouquet for the funeral of the deceased with a nice card. Choose flowers that last a long time or a small plant that doesn’t require much care when considering your options.
  4. Send a memorial contribution to help pay for memorial expenses. This is an increasingly common gesture that can be used to help lessen the unforeseen costs of a funeral.
  5. Send a keepsake gift box. If you’re looking to send a lasting sympathy gift, you can opt for a custom gift box with a photo of the deceased in lieu of flowers. This gift idea signifies that the memory of the deceased will never be forgotten.
  6. Send comfort food. Most individuals who are grieving cook less during this time so sending along a hot meal to help alleviate their stress of cooking is a thoughtful idea. If an entire family is grieving, you can let your loved one know that you’ll be stopping by to drop off enough food for the entire household in advance.
  7. Offer assistance or help around the house. If you’re a close family member or friend, you can offer to babysit or straighten up around the grieving person’s house. This is a sweet gesture and very useful during such a delicate time.

custom photo sympathy card

Should I Send a Gift if I Didn’t Know the Deceased?

Answer: Yes, it is okay to send a gift to a friend if you didn’t know the deceased. If a friend is grieving but you don’t know the deceased, it is still necessary to send a sympathy card or gift. It’s important to acknowledge a friend’s loss even if you didn’t know the deceased personally.

Are Group Sympathy Gifts Appropriate?

Answer: Yes. If you’d like to send a sympathy gift to a classmate or co-worker, it is perfectly fine and appropriate to send a group sympathy gift. If you also share a lot of mutual friends with the grieving individual, you can also send a group gift such as a memorial contribution. However, if you have a very close relationship with the grieving individual, be sure to send a personal gift as well.

Can I Send a Gift After the Funeral?

Answer: Yes, you can definitely send a gift after the funeral. Healing takes a while so your sympathy gift is still relevant after the funeral. Try to send your gift no later than two months after the funeral to make sure your gesture is well-received.

Finding the right words to say in your sympathy card can also prove to be tough. You don’t want to say the wrong thing or say too much. Our guide on what to write in a sympathy card can help steer you in the right direction when it comes to expressing your sentiment and consoling the grieved. Always remember that family and friends will never forget your kind gestures and compassion during this difficult time.