Author Topic: Need help!! writing sympathy card for baby  (Read 1757 times)

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goldilocks

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Need help!! writing sympathy card for baby
« on: August 15, 2013, 10:25:00 AM »
I just found out that a friend had triplets, but one of them passed.  How do I write a card expressing sympathy, but at the same time acknowledge the 2 other babies?

*inviteseller

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Re: Need help!! writing sympathy card for baby
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2013, 10:29:26 AM »
Oh, that poor family!  I am so bad with sympathy notes as I tend to get all mushy and maudlin.  I would just get a blank card..maybe something with a field of flowers or a sky scene..maybe a rainbow, and try something like

Dear Friend,
I just wanted to send my loving thoughts to you. 

Love,
Goldilocks

Sharnita

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Re: Need help!! writing sympathy card for baby
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2013, 10:37:20 AM »
Maybe something honest like "I don't.have the words to express all I am thi.king and feeling. Please know all of you are in my thoughts. If you need a meal or a friend to talk to, don't hesitate to call for either."

gellchom

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Re: Need help!! writing sympathy card for baby
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2013, 02:25:21 PM »
The less said in any sympathy card, the better.  This one is really tricky because of the mixed feelings going on.  So even more important just to keep it short.  The point is that you are expressing sympathy and solidarity at a tough time, so the content isn't the issue.  It's not the time for creativity or even overpersonalization.  Traditional, simple, formulaic words are the best for sympathy.  In our Jewish community, people often write very little or even nothing beyond the traditional Hebrew greeting for a mourner, which is just a few words.

Don't ever tell someone how to feel.  "She's better off now" or "You should be glad he's no longer suffering" are well intended but awful.

Don't try to say something that minimizes their loss in an effort to make them feel better.  I had a miscarriage many years ago, unfortunately right after Time Magazine had done a piece about how miscarriage is much more common than we knew, because it can happen so early in a pregnancy that the woman didn't even realize she was pregnant.  Several people mentioned that to me, as if I shouldn't feel bad at all because it's so common.  Why on earth think that?  You wouldn't think you were cheering up a friend who'd just lost her mother by pointing out that it's common for children to outlive their parents.  The effect was just to make me feel much worse, as if I not only had a loss, I wasn't supposed to care and my feelings weren't legitimate.  (I wasn't freaking out or in mourning or anything.)

Similarly, don't say "I know how you feel" or talk about a loss you have had ("I remember when my dad died ...").  You DON'T know how they feel, and they don't want to hear that their experience is ordinary.

If I knew the person at all, I try to say something nice I remember about them; that's the only thing I add to a very short message of sympathy.  People really seem to appreciate that most of all.

Dear Friend,

I am so sorry to hear of your loss.  Whenever I think of your dad, I remember him smiling and helpful to others [OR: although I never met your dad, I know you always looked forward to vacations with him/I am sure he was proud of you and your family/etc.].
May he rest in peace, and may you and your family find comfort in many happy memories.

Love,
Gellchom

But you can't do that here with a newborn baby.  So just keep it very short -- as I said above, it's the fact you are doing it at all that matters.  Don't say anything about the other, happy news in their life -- do that separately.  Inviteseller's formula is excellent.  Here is another one if you like:

Dear Friend,
I am so terribly sorry to hear of the loss of little Mervin.  Please know that we are all thinking of you.
Love,
Gellchom

Sharnita, your note is lovely, but I would caution against one thing.  It's great to help, but don't make it an "if" or tell them to ask you if they NEED it.  That's why, in my opinion, although the sentiment is perfect, I'd avoid the wording "If you need a meal or a friend to talk to, don't hesitate to call for either."  No one is going to call you and ask you for a meal or to ask you to come over now so they can cry.  Just bring the meal and just visit.  Particularly tricky are things along the line of "If you need a shoulder to cry on ...." People HATE that.  It sounds like you are hungry for the interesting spectacle of their pain, or perhaps wanting to set yourself up as their most important friend and confidante for your own gratification (I know that is NOT what you meant!).  If it's a close enough friend that you are a natural person for that, then just BE THERE. 

Really, in the end, I think that's what love and friendship are all about -- being there.  And that's what sympathy notes symbolically are: helping people in sorrow feel that they are not alone.

MummySweet

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Re: Need help!! writing sympathy card for baby
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2013, 03:35:19 PM »
This one is so hard because while there is loss that must be acknowledged, the joy of new life should also be expressed.   

Here is what I might do:
Send a card and/or small gift to each of the surviving children, addressed to them specifically.  Use the joyful colors and pictures that you would use to welcome any other baby.   "Dear Zoe, Welcome the the World!  Wishing you lots of fun!  Love, Goldilocks"  or  "Dear Josh,  Welcome!  I have three bears that can't wait to meet you for a play date!  Love Goldilocks"   (Multiples often get seen only as a group, Twins, Triplets, etc.  It is so important to recognize them as individuals.  In this case, I think it is particularly important to make sure to recognize them apart from the tragedy and sorrow that will always be entwined with their birth/early days.)

At the same time I would send the parents a card with my sympathy at the loss of their other dear child.  I think Gellchom said it well, "Dear Friend,  I am so terribly sorry to hear of the loss of little Mervin.  Please know that we are all thinking of you.
Love, Goldilocks "


Margo

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Re: Need help!! writing sympathy card for baby
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2013, 03:44:27 PM »
I think MummySweet's suggestion is great.

DaDancingPsych

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Re: Need help!! writing sympathy card for baby
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2013, 03:48:01 PM »
I think MummySweet's suggestion is great.

Ditto. I think it covers all of the emotions and gives the appropriate attention to each. That family... how heartbreaking.

Clarissa

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Re: Need help!! writing sympathy card for baby
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2013, 03:59:50 PM »
I lost a baby boy nearly 14 years ago now. I appreciated all the cards I recieved, even the ones that were worded badly. It's the sentiment behind them them matters. I still read them now. Just write from your heart, and you won't go wrong.

jpcher

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Re: Need help!! writing sympathy card for baby
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2013, 07:28:10 PM »
I agree with others . . . MummySweet's suggestion is perfect.

bopper

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Re: Need help!! writing sympathy card for baby
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2013, 10:12:05 AM »
I googled this topic.

 Don't be surprised if they still refer to the remaining children as surviving triplets and continue to refer to the other triplet often.
Often the parents will have trouble when asked "Are they twins"?  Do they say yes to people they don't know? Do they say "No, they are surviving triplets" Do they say "No they are triplets" and then when asked where the other triplet is, do they say "In heaven?" or "With Grandma" (who is in heaven).

Also if they subscribe to the concept of heaven, you could wish them a Happy birthday to Bobby, Janey and Angel Cole.








ellasaunt

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Re: Need help!! writing sympathy card for baby
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2013, 05:40:59 PM »
I can offer two perspectives.  My Angelbaby passed just over 7 years ago, and we received many cards etc. The most comforting ones for us were the ones that referred to him by name, and offered no more than genuine sympathy, i.e. " we were sorry to hear of the passing of Angelbaby. You and your family are in our thoughts etc. The least helpful were the ones that that things about heaven needing another angel, or that we were young enough to have more children ( I kid you not).

Close friends of ours had twins, and one sadly passed. I know from talking with the mother that although the intent wasn't hurtful, getting cards etc congratulating them on the birth of their twins cut them to the core.  I have learnt through my experience and theirs that while a card is appreciated,  what means far more is physically being there. Drop in to give a hug, bring a meal, or just sit. One if D.H.'s aunts would come to the house, almost daily, make me a cup of coffee, a hug, and quietly leave. Her visits were never longer than 20 minutes, but were so very appreciated.  So much so, she is now god mother to oldest D.S.