If you knew the dead but not his or her family, write the message to the nearest relative, who is frequently the widow, widower, or eldest child. If you choose, you can also include "and family": "Mrs. John Smith and Family." If you didn't know the dead but knew one of his or her family, write to them. Use the first name and last initial of the deceased.
Sympathy cards are usually sent to families that have recently lost their loved one, so if you send one to a family that has survived someone close, they might think that you are trying to insult them by implying that they aren't suffering enough already. In this case, you should write on the card that you are sending your condolences and that you hope that they will find some comfort in knowing that others feel their loss.
If you are unsure how to address a card, it's best to email or phone the family before dropping off your gift. They can tell you what format should be used on the card (i.e., first name-last name, Mr. and Mrs. etc.) and whether or not they want "and family" included on the card.
The same principle applies for groups of people other than families.
If you don't know the family but know the deceased, send a condolence card to the deceased's closest relative, who is usually the widow/widower or the eldest child. If there are no close relatives, then send a card to any other friend or neighbor that was close to the deceased.
Cards are an effective way of showing support after someone dies. They allow people to express their feelings at a time when they may not have the chance to speak with the person they're thinking of. Cards can be sent to anyone from friends and family members to office mates and co-workers.
Sympathy cards contain your thoughts about the deceased along with your address so that others can write their own words of comfort and support.
Anyone who has been through a loss will tell you that receiving sympathy cards helps them feel less alone during this difficult time. Whether the card comes from a close friend or a total stranger, it means so much to those who receive it. Keep sending out cards because memories are made from years ago were still good enough to write down what happened when.
The first option is to address the letter with the family name, while the second is to expressly write the names of some or all family members on it. The simplest approach to do it is to make the family name the first line of the address.
A condolence card's envelope should always be addressed officially, utilizing the deceased's family's titles rather than merely first names. If the card is being sent to the deceased's whole family, the widow or widower should be stated officially on the first address line, followed by the children's first names on the following line.
If the condolence card is for a family member, it is ideal to write the last name and family name on the top address line of the envelope. It would look like this: the Smiths. This manner, no one person is singled out, and your sympathies are extended to the whole family. If you do not know the surname of the deceased, you can place a note inside the card saying "Sympathy from friends." This statement will be understood by anyone who receives the card.
If the card is for a friend or relative, they should be addressed with their first name and any title they may have had, such as Mr. , Mrs. This is also true if the card writer did not know the names of those who died.
In either case, include your contact information (address and phone number), be sure to sign the card, and send it through the mail.
If you're sending a condolence card to a coworker, you may write, "Ralph Jones and family." Perhaps a coworker has died and you are unfamiliar with the person's family; the suitable address would be "The family of Ralph Jones." If no one is available to accept delivery, then the card should be returned to the local office.
In general, if you don't know any details about the deceased, it's best to leave things unspecified. For example, if you send your card to "A friend" rather than to a specific individual, then they can pass the message on if they so choose.
Writing on a sympathy card for a coworker is easy because there are no right or wrong answers. You can write anything you like as long as it isn't discriminatory against the dead person or anyone else. For example, if the person was gay, then you wouldn't want to use the term "homosexual" when writing on their card because that would be inappropriate. However, if you know something about them that might help others understand why they needed condolences, then by all means share that information too.
As long as you follow these guidelines, you will be sending a good message on a good day. That is always important when sending cards in the aftermath of loss.