Greeting Card Paralysis
When you just don’t know what to write in a card
Who DOESN’T get stuck deciding what to write in a card?
This is what happens in my family. I’m plonked down in front of a card and told ‘write something from everyone’.
In the spirit of outsourcing, here are some witty and urbane things you could say in YOUR greeting card.
How to write in a sympathy card
Knowing what to write in a sympathy card is a hard gig. When someone is deeply sad or grieving, we don’t want to hurry them out of that feeling. They need time in those feelings to process what has happened to them. Sadness and grief make us slow down and the slowing down is part of healing. When someone we love is in pain, we want to let them know that we respect, and hope to understand their pain. We want them to know they’re loved and that we are here for them.
These message appears to be simple, but when I was in deep pain, it’s everything I wanted to hear. I see your pain, it sucks , I wish for different things and I’m here for you. Simply saying how you feel is often the best message.
A little humour never goes astray – as long as that humour isn’t trying to joke your friend OUT of their pain. My husband and I used to joke that this was our hat trick of coping during our daughter’s treatment for cancer – dark coffee, dark chocolate and dark humour. Whatever your friends coping strategies, just let them know that you’ll be there to share them.
I often say to my friends during hard times – imagine me holding your hand. It was a strategy I used myself before I was able to openly tell my friends and family how far left of coping I was. I would imagine my kindest friend holding my hand and I felt deeply comforted.
Don’t be the person who says NOTHING. Say something. Even if that something is ‘I don’t know what to say’. There’s really no excuse for radio silence when your friend is in pain. It may feel wildly uncomfortable for you to connect with them when they’re suffering. It’s OK that you feel that way, but DO say something. Better saying something and feeling awkward than lying awake at night beating yourself up for not reaching out when you knew your friend needed you.
The following may or may not work for your family. MY family are a little irreverent and not shy of a swear word, except Mum, she’s a lady.
If you write Love from your favourite child, take care NOT to sign your name. Leave that blank.
Love and Friendship and Missing People
If you have a cracker of an idea for a greeting, pop it in the comments. I’d love to hear it.
May you be free from greeting card writing paralysis!