Sympathy Notes 

A sympathy note is an expression of compassion that you send to the family of someone who has recently died. If you would like to reach out to the deceased's loved ones, a written note is the only proper way, though a phone call or visit in addition to a note is certainly acceptable.

Sympathy notes may be written on any personal stationery as long as it is conservative in appearance. If your stationery has bright-colored borders, liners or inks, you should purchase a boxed set of blank cards and envelopes for this purpose. We recommend using Black ink on Ecru stock, which is more formal. You may use note cards, sheets, or foldover informal notes when writing your sympathy message.

Striking the proper balance between formality and familiarity is tricky -- composing a sympathy note is notoriously difficult. We recommend that you be brief and direct, but also personal -- a reference to a particularly fine quality you admired in the deceased is always appreciated. Remember that your note should lift the spirit and should remind the recipient that he or she is in your thoughts, and avoid overly emotional or flowery language.


Sympathy Acknowledgment Notes

Sympathy acknowledgments are notes that the family of the deceased sends to all those from whom they have received some kind of gesture after the death. They may be sent in response to flowers, donations, food, a kind visit, or a letter.

Most sympathy acknowledgments are engraved on Ecru stock using a conservative typestyle and Black ink. The foldover informal note is the most common format, though a thicker card is also acceptable. The text of a sympathy acknowledgment note varies little. Here are a few examples:


The Family of John L. Best 
Wishes to acknowledge 
Your kind expression of sympathy. 
Carolyn, Elizabeth and Jim

Your kind expression of sympathy 
Is gratefully acknowledged 
And deeply appreciated. 
The Family of John L. Best

It is not necessary to write a personal note to every recipient (though it is recommended), but each sympathy acknowledgment should be signed. Acknowledgments should be mailed as soon as is practicable. Because of the time sensitivity of such a stationery order, Dempsey & Carroll makes every effort to produce and ship sympathy acknowledgments notes as soon as possible.