View Full Version : What do you write on a "Sorry for your loss" card being passed around the office?

05-03-2005, 11:45 AM
Yet another co-worker has lost a family member :(

Whenever this happens, a card materializes from nowhere and starts making the rounds. By the time it finds its way to me, it seems that every single person writes a short variation on the words "sorry for your loss".

I think it looks silly to see a card with the same phrase repeated fifteen times, so I am looking for honest suggestions for what one writes on such a card. Of course, I do realize that if I write the same thing, no one will know who wrote it first and who wrote it last, but I still would like to be a little different.

Anyway... What would you write in such a card, assuming that the person is not a close friend, but you do work with the person from time to time?

don't ask
05-03-2005, 11:50 AM
I just put my signature under the crap that Hallmark wrote, or put "ditto" under someone else's message.

Once in a while I write what I feel.

05-03-2005, 11:50 AM
"Thinking of you" works pretty well.

05-03-2005, 11:50 AM
I just write "condolences".

It's not like they're going to make up a list and sort it by who wrote the nicest thing.

05-03-2005, 11:51 AM
Honestly, I just write "My deepest sympathies" or "My condolences on your loss" and sign my name. If you don't know the person who has lost his or her relative more than a casual business relationship, I think such sentiments are entirely appropriate. Trying to be any more familiar might insult the person.

05-03-2005, 12:06 PM
I don't write anything. I don't sign condolence cards, birthday cards, anniversary cards, none of it. I don't do office potlucks, I don't take a piece of the office birthday cake, I don't look at the Party Lites or Girl Scout cookie catalogs perched on people's desks. The only card I've ever signed was a thank you card that went around for the trainer of the new hires for my most recent job. I don't participate in others' and I don't expect anyone to participate in one for me. I don't provide my birthday to the inevitable office nudge whose self-appointed job it is to obtain and circulate it. I thought I was screwed this year because my birthday was printed in a gift calendar that was printed up and distributed to everyone in my old department. Then I changed departments, and my birthday (which was two weeks ago) is missing from the new department's "April Birthdays" list. Yes!

05-03-2005, 12:39 PM
<Office Space>Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays!</Office Space>

05-03-2005, 12:51 PM
I'm totally with you on that, Otto. It seems that fifteen different envelopes have made the rounds in recent weeks for baby showers, get well cards, going away, and whatnot.

It doesn't bother me when it's once every month or so, but when two or three are showing up in a week, and they both have a little money envelope attached for us to contribute, it annoys me.

I stopped putting money in them this year. Maybe next year I will sign my name without any comment and pass them on. The year after I will simply pass them along without opening them. Finally, after several years of practice, I will be able to simply glare at the bearer of the card and make him or her leave my presence without even handing me the card.

However, I don't have this same opinion of condolences cards knowing that the intended recipients would give anything in the world to have their loved one back.

05-03-2005, 12:58 PM
I find group condolence cards appalling, and I won't sign one. If I know the person well enough to be extending genuine feelings of sympathy, I will go out and buy a card to send them just from me.

05-03-2005, 01:14 PM
I got one recently and a lot of the people put some variation on "you and your family will be in my thoughts/prayers".

05-03-2005, 01:15 PM
"Can I have his stuff?"

Seriously, I just write things like "my condolences". I don't care if it's already been said in exactly those words already on the card.

Cat Whisperer
05-03-2005, 01:18 PM
I got one recently that really struck me. It said inside "Wishing you some peace today."

05-03-2005, 01:56 PM
"My heartfelt sympathies go out to you and/or your family during your personal tragedy and/or time of crisis."

05-03-2005, 02:14 PM

It doesn't bother me when it's once every month or so, but when two or three are showing up in a week, and they both have a little money envelope attached for us to contribute, it annoys me.

:eek: Forget it. I am not putting money in anything. Do they even invite you? The gall of some people!

Ditto to "Condolences" or "My Sympathies".

05-03-2005, 02:34 PM
If there's enough room, I like to write "I didn't know your <family member>, but if he/she was anything like you I know that he/she will be greatly missed." If there isn't enough room, or if I don't particularly like the person the card is going to, I put the typical "sorry for your loss."

I don't care how many cards come around for signing, because I think it's always a nice gesture. I know that I've appreciated every birthday and condolence card I've ever received from co-workers. But I don't do money: I don't pitch in for -- or attend -- wedding or baby showers, etc. Ever. Keeps me from going broke, or having to play favorites, or any of that other crap. I'll sign a card for you without a second thought, but I'm not buying you anything (or "chipping in") unless you're a personal friend.

05-03-2005, 03:21 PM
How's this for coincidence, there's a birthday card (it's not even a card, someone just typed HAPPY BIRTHDAY (NAME) in Word and printed it up) lodged on my desk right now. I tried to give it back to the person who gave it to me (the office snitch/earworm carrier) but he won't take it. I'm being corralled into participating (by passing it) against my will. If I were feeling marginally more pissy (and if I didn't think the snitch would, well, snitch) the damn thing might just end up in the garbage.

Yeticus Rex
05-03-2005, 08:17 PM
"Thoughts and prayers for you, your family and your loved one." If it's someone I know, or an immediate family member, then I might look into a personal donation if the family is in need, separate from the other employees so there is no awkwardness.

05-03-2005, 08:29 PM
If I know the folks are religious I'll say something in that vein. If not, I usually say something like "My sincere condolences for your loss".

My co-workers know that I don't buy charitable stuff, like over-priced gift-wrap or 3 oz. of candy for $10. I will contribute to most baby or wedding showers.


05-03-2005, 08:45 PM
I stopped putting money in them this year. Maybe next year I will sign my name without any comment and pass them on. The year after I will simply pass them along without opening them.Have a rubber stamp custom-made:
< > Happy birthday
< > Sorry for your loss
< > Congratulations on
< > your promotion
< > the birth of your child
< > __________________<signature>

I bet you'll make your point. :)

P.S. I asked my boss to remove me from the birthday list as well. We're not alone!

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