Author Topic: The condolence card  (Read 5454 times)

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macncheese

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The condolence card
« on: October 11, 2011, 01:29:33 PM »
There was a very well liked client that worked with one of the departments of my company. The client was very well liked by everyone and they were quite sad to hear the news. Now some of the people in the department were closer to the client than others but overall, everyone knew who the client was. A condolence card sent but it was sent out before some people could sign it.  The people that did not sign were a mix of people who were close and some not so close.

It was a simple mistake. Someone got careless and did not check. That department has been under a lot of stress and unfortunately things fall through the cracks.

Now the people who did not sign the card, they are going sign their own card and send it to the family.

Is that the proper thing to do?

It looks fine to me.

DaDancingPsych

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Re: The condolence card
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2011, 02:32:02 PM »
I imagine it would not be rude. The worst case is that the family may see the company as unorganized, but in their grief, they are likely to not even notice. What they will notice and feel is the sympathy provided by all those individuals that their loved one touched. I think itís fine to send.

Lisbeth

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Re: The condolence card
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2011, 02:33:21 PM »
Pod.  That these persons are conveying sympathy at all probably means a lot more to the family than who signed what card.
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SamiHami

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Re: The condolence card
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2011, 04:58:08 PM »
It's one thing for a group to sign a birthday card. A group signing a condolence card? I think that is tacky. First of all, a death requires a letter, not a greeting card. A personal letter, explaining who you are and your connection the the deceased, along with a couple of nice things about him or her-a nice anectdote or a trait you admired are the things the family will take comfort in. There's no comfort to be had with a pre-printed 'sorry for your loss" card with twenty names scribbled on it.


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LazyDaisy

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Re: The condolence card
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2011, 05:18:29 PM »
It's one thing for a group to sign a birthday card. A group signing a condolence card? I think that is tacky. First of all, a death requires a letter, not a greeting card. A personal letter, explaining who you are and your connection the the deceased, along with a couple of nice things about him or her-a nice anecdote or a trait you admired are the things the family will take comfort in. There's no comfort to be had with a pre-printed 'sorry for your loss" card with twenty names scribbled on it.

I disagree with you on that. Any acknowledgement of the loss and expression of condolence is a nice gesture. Some people are just not able to express themselves in writing and I don't think there is a hierarchy of whose grief is more legitimate based on that ability.

I think a second card is very nice of those that missed the first and the family would appreciate it, even if they don't recognize any of the names.
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Yvaine

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Re: The condolence card
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2011, 05:23:43 PM »
It's one thing for a group to sign a birthday card. A group signing a condolence card? I think that is tacky. First of all, a death requires a letter, not a greeting card. A personal letter, explaining who you are and your connection the the deceased, along with a couple of nice things about him or her-a nice anectdote or a trait you admired are the things the family will take comfort in. There's no comfort to be had with a pre-printed 'sorry for your loss" card with twenty names scribbled on it.

I am going to have to disagree with you. First, if a condolence card was inherently tacky, then everyone I know has been tacky; condolence cards are extremely common and many of them are quite tasteful IMO.

Second, this is exactly what my work department does when someone dies, and this is not a "I do it so it's not rude" justification; they were doing it long before I started there.

Third, it doesn't preclude the anecdotes and other kind words. I have seen many of these cards by my department and they aren't just full of signatures and a printed message, or even just "sorry for your loss"es; they are jam-packed with heartfelt messages. (It was great when a nearby store was selling cards with about 6 pages in them. Finally enough room to not have to write small!)

Fourth, the business setting is not necessarily one where you would have umpteen different explanations of the connection to the deceased. Many would have known him in passing and not really have a story to tell but still feel a sense of loss; even for the ones who knew him, the "connection" is the same for all of them: he was a client of XYZ.

To get back to the OP, I see no problem with what the accidentally left out people are doing.

gingerzing

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Re: The condolence card
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2011, 05:27:24 PM »
It's one thing for a group to sign a birthday card. A group signing a condolence card? I think that is tacky. First of all, a death requires a letter, not a greeting card. A personal letter, explaining who you are and your connection the the deceased, along with a couple of nice things about him or her-a nice anecdote or a trait you admired are the things the family will take comfort in. There's no comfort to be had with a pre-printed 'sorry for your loss" card with twenty names scribbled on it.

I disagree with you on that. Any acknowledgement of the loss and expression of condolence is a nice gesture. Some people are just not able to express themselves in writing and I don't think there is a hierarchy of whose grief is more legitimate based on that ability.

I think a second card is very nice of those that missed the first and the family would appreciate it, even if they don't recognize any of the names.

I agree with LazyDaisy.  For several reasons.  One, since especially this was a business setting, so the names, if sent individually, may confuse the family unless a tie to the company. 
Two some who knew the client only a little can still be part condolences.
And finally, it saves the family writing many individual cards that would go to the same place. 

(Thus sayth someone who has had no less than 5 deaths of loved ones in her office of in the last 3 months.) 

Of course if someone was close to the person outside of the office an individual card would be correct. 

And I for one, was very appriciative of the card from my father's funeral from his former workplace department that did just that.  (And a similar one from the hospice home he was in)   Most people wrote a short note along with their name. 

Twik

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Re: The condolence card
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2011, 05:50:00 PM »
It's one thing for a group to sign a birthday card. A group signing a condolence card? I think that is tacky. First of all, a death requires a letter, not a greeting card. A personal letter, explaining who you are and your connection the the deceased, along with a couple of nice things about him or her-a nice anectdote or a trait you admired are the things the family will take comfort in. There's no comfort to be had with a pre-printed 'sorry for your loss" card with twenty names scribbled on it.

How exactly are her colleagues going to send "nice things and personal anecdotes" about someone they never met?

In this case, the workplace, as a unit, is sending condolences to the person that they knew, the worker. One card or two, it says that they are recognizing that one of them has suffered a loss. If individuals are personal friends, they can send separate condolences in such a way as you describe, but how on earth am I going to send a personal letter talking about my direct connection to the deceased to a colleague who works in another branch and who I have never actually met except through phone calls and e-mails?

For the OP's question, I think it is better to fix the problem by sending another card, then let the bereaved think that some of her colleagues neglected or objected to sending condolences.
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Yvaine

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Re: The condolence card
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2011, 05:55:53 PM »

In this case, the workplace, as a unit, is sending condolences to the person that they knew, the worker.

Thanks, you said what I was trying to say.

SamiHami

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Re: The condolence card
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2011, 06:11:34 PM »
It's one thing for a group to sign a birthday card. A group signing a condolence card? I think that is tacky. First of all, a death requires a letter, not a greeting card. A personal letter, explaining who you are and your connection the the deceased, along with a couple of nice things about him or her-a nice anectdote or a trait you admired are the things the family will take comfort in. There's no comfort to be had with a pre-printed 'sorry for your loss" card with twenty names scribbled on it.

How exactly are her colleagues going to send "nice things and personal anecdotes" about someone they never met?

In this case, the workplace, as a unit, is sending condolences to the person that they knew, the worker. One card or two, it says that they are recognizing that one of them has suffered a loss. If individuals are personal friends, they can send separate condolences in such a way as you describe, but how on earth am I going to send a personal letter talking about my direct connection to the deceased to a colleague who works in another branch and who I have never actually met except through phone calls and e-mails?

For the OP's question, I think it is better to fix the problem by sending another card, then let the bereaved think that some of her colleagues neglected or objected to sending condolences.

Re the bolded: Why would someone sign/send a card if they never even met the decedent or his/her family? Are we supposed to read the obituaries every day and send condolence notes to all of the families of those deceased people? That would be pretty much the same thing-those people are strangers, as well.

In a business setting, since this is a client, the company should send flowers/a donation on behalf of the company. Anyone who actually knew the deceased can appropriately send an individual letter of condolence (or flowers or a donation) to the grieving family. Anyone who doesn't actually know him should not.

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Soprych

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Re: The condolence card
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2011, 01:28:41 AM »
It's one thing for a group to sign a birthday card. A group signing a condolence card? I think that is tacky. First of all, a death requires a letter, not a greeting card. A personal letter, explaining who you are and your connection the the deceased, along with a couple of nice things about him or her-a nice anectdote or a trait you admired are the things the family will take comfort in. There's no comfort to be had with a pre-printed 'sorry for your loss" card with twenty names scribbled on it.

How exactly are her colleagues going to send "nice things and personal anecdotes" about someone they never met?

In this case, the workplace, as a unit, is sending condolences to the person that they knew, the worker. One card or two, it says that they are recognizing that one of them has suffered a loss. If individuals are personal friends, they can send separate condolences in such a way as you describe, but how on earth am I going to send a personal letter talking about my direct connection to the deceased to a colleague who works in another branch and who I have never actually met except through phone calls and e-mails?

For the OP's question, I think it is better to fix the problem by sending another card, then let the bereaved think that some of her colleagues neglected or objected to sending condolences.

Re the bolded: Why would someone sign/send a card if they never even met the decedent or his/her family? Are we supposed to read the obituaries every day and send condolence notes to all of the families of those deceased people? That would be pretty much the same thing-those people are strangers, as well.

In a business setting, since this is a client, the company should send flowers/a donation on behalf of the company. Anyone who actually knew the deceased can appropriately send an individual letter of condolence (or flowers or a donation) to the grieving family. Anyone who doesn't actually know him should not.

I was of the impression that birthday cards are passed around for signing.  A condolence sent for a business acquaintance is signed corporately as in "The employees of the XYZ Company"  A personal message should be sent separately.  Further a personal message to the family of the decedent should be clear direct enough so that there is no confusion.  Inscribed, for example, while I did not work directly with your loved one, I have come to appreciate her participation in the OLD project.

I am not certain if that impression is based on cultural norms for  region I lived in or the industry.  I know that when my Grandfather died, cards that were passed around for signature were discarded.  Personal notes - even the impersonal style personal note were saved.

I wish I had started to wonder why at a younger are.

shyviolet3

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Re: The condolence card
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2011, 02:12:39 AM »
I think it's perfectly fine that the left out employes sent another card. It's actually rather nice it shows that they cared enough to go to the trouble of signing another card rather than just saying "oh well."

lkb

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Re: The condolence card
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2011, 10:14:30 AM »
As someone who's just lost her mother within the past month, I can say that ANY acknowledgment of a loss is deeply appreciated. To paraphrase a coworker: "I've never been offended by a greeting card in my life." My son's youth group (from last school year, he's since graduated and attends college out of state) sent us a card with personal messages from each one. We were deeply touched by it.

I guess I don't understand the notion that greeting cards in themselves are tacky (which I've seen expressed here and elsewhere). Some people don't know what to say on certain occasions. Greeting cards (for whatever occasion) give them the words to say. It is the thought that counts.


Twik

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Re: The condolence card
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2011, 10:32:02 AM »
I am not certain if that impression is based on cultural norms for  region I lived in or the industry.  I know that when my Grandfather died, cards that were passed around for signature were discarded.  Personal notes - even the impersonal style personal note were saved.

I've got to admit, this boggles my mind. "How DARE my colleagues take the trouble to sign a card together! I want it to be preprinted on behalf of the company as a whole, or I just don't think they're treating me properly!"

My company does not issue "On behalf of XXX, we offer you our corporate sympathy, sincerely (insert management's name here)" cards. Seeing my colleagues' actual names means much more to me, and I think to other people in the company too.

Quote
Further a personal message to the family of the decedent should be clear direct enough so that there is no confusion.  Inscribed, for example, while I did not work directly with your loved one, I have come to appreciate her participation in the OLD project.

What if you know absolutely nothing about the deceased, except that they were related to someone who currently works for the company? I mean, even platitudes like, "I'm sure you must have some wonderful memories of Person X, who I'm sure loved you deeply," may be wildly off the mark. Person X might have been violently abusive.
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Soprych

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Re: The condolence card
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2011, 01:24:59 PM »
I am not certain if that impression is based on cultural norms for  region I lived in or the industry.  I know that when my Grandfather died, cards that were passed around for signature were discarded.  Personal notes - even the impersonal style personal note were saved.

I've got to admit, this boggles my mind. "How DARE my colleagues take the trouble to sign a card together! I want it to be preprinted on behalf of the company as a whole, or I just don't think they're treating me properly!"

My company does not issue "On behalf of XXX, we offer you our corporate sympathy, sincerely (insert management's name here)" cards. Seeing my colleagues' actual names means much more to me, and I think to other people in the company too.

Quote
Further a personal message to the family of the decedent should be clear direct enough so that there is no confusion.  Inscribed, for example, while I did not work directly with your loved one, I have come to appreciate her participation in the OLD project.

What if you know absolutely nothing about the deceased, except that they were related to someone who currently works for the company? I mean, even platitudes like, "I'm sure you must have some wonderful memories of Person X, who I'm sure loved you deeply," may be wildly off the mark. Person X might have been violently abusive.


If I know absolutely nothing about the decedent at all then there is no need for me to send a condolence card.  Further I was speaking of how we handled it.  If one does not know either my deceased relative or my family well enough then how is that any different than choosing names at random from the obituaries to send cards?

I am trying not to take personally the response although in some respects I did "ask for it"  I think that a further issue is that culturally, a Spiritually Bouquet  or Mass Card is what we would both send and expect to receive.  Anything else would indicate that the person sending the greeting card did not know us.

I just check with a family member.  I had an extended family member pass away last week.  Although retired, she work within municipal government for 40 years.  At the present there are over a hundred cards and letters from business acquaintances, co-workers and club members.  Not one is signed pass around style.

Again, within my experiences pass around cards for deaths are not the norm.  Does that mean that I think it is the only way or even the most correct way.... no only that within the cultural structure I am most familiar with, this is how we do it.  And have done it since the 1960's.