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Old 08-24-2017, 09:14 PM
Location: Somewhere, out there in Zone7B
4,539 posts, read 5,829,426 times
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My favorite (Great) Aunt passed away today at 96 years old. I haven't had a lot of loss to deal with over the years (thankfully) nor any loss for many years, and hopefully, it stays that way for a good while.

I won't get in to a lot of personal info, I'm basically asking what your thoughts are on the subject of condolences these days.

Is there a new "norm" or etiquette for sending condolences these days? We use to send sympathy/condolence cards, but with 4 cousins who all live in different states, would people send out a card to each and every person?

Is online condolences, the one the funeral home puts up, the way most people do it these days?

I don't want to text my cousins, I think this is very impersonal. I texted someone a condolence once and never got a reply. I won't do that again. We do not text each other anyway.

I don't feel a telephone call right now is good, too many things they are dealing with, most important, flying my Aunt to another state to her final resting place by Sunday. When people are dealing with so many things, do you still call? I can call at a later date, but not right now.

So, what are your feelings/opinions on condolences these days?

TIA for your input!
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Old 08-24-2017, 10:38 PM
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Condolences on the loss of your great-aunt.

Of course, there's no official obligation to do anything at all.

So, I am only speaking for myself, not saying this is what you should decide to do.

Long story short: I'd ask myself what would I like others to do for me when I'd suffered a loss, and then I'd do that for them if I could.

If at all possible, I'd attend the funeral.

When my parents died, I was surprised and comforted by distant cousins who showed up at the funeral and shared their memories of my parents with me.

That taught me how important it is to just be there when you can.

If I was unable to attend the funeral, and knew the addresses of the cousins, I'd send a personal hand written card to each cousin, sharing some memory I had of my aunt, and telling them that I'm thinking of them and wished I could be at the funeral.

When my mother died, a friend of hers who I knew only because my mother had mentioned her, but had never met in person, sent me a card telling me how fondly my Mom always talked about me. That card arrived a week or two after the funeral and it felt like my Mom was giving me a hug. It actually was one of the kindest cards I received.

It taught me the importance of doing something personal for the mourners, even if you don't know them well.

I would not wimp out and post a "so sorry" thing on the funeral home's website. That's akin to leaving a Facebook message saying, sorry.

The effort required is approximately the comfort provided.

If it was an aunt I felt particularly close to, I might also give one of the cousins a call and ask if there was a charity that she favored that I could make a donation to her in her name.

A friend of mine did that after my Mom died and then followed through with it, and it meant so much to me that she went out of her way to actually DO something in my mom's memory after the funeral was over.

That taught me the importance of remembering the family after the funeral is over.

And, if I had their phone numbers, I'd try to follow up a few months later with a phone call to each of the cousins if I could.

Just to reconnect. Family -- even second cousin type family -- is hard to come by these days.

But again, this is what I would do. I'm sure you'll figure out what feels right to you.


Last edited by RosieSD; 08-24-2017 at 11:08 PM..
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Old 08-24-2017, 11:07 PM
Location: Mid-Atlantic
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It hasn't changed. People still feel terrible when a family member dies. Respond online, and buy a card and write something in it. The cards meant the most to me. People shared their memories on paper.
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Old 09-14-2017, 01:07 AM
93 posts, read 40,631 times
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My heartfelt condolences to you.

I send cards (it's up to you what you write in the inside & how personal your message is, depending on the person you're sending it to and how well you know them).

Immediate family (like the spouse), usu should receive a $ check (whatever amt you can contribute or think is appropriate).

Online condolences (and memories) can also be expressed and shared in online guestbooks as well.

And if you want to think outside the box, (in addition to the above), consider donating or contributing to a cause that you know the deceased enjoyed or was passionate about. (For example, if your great-aunt was an animal lover, consider making a donation to the local animal shelter in your area in her honor.)

Whatever you feel comfortable with, you will be glad you did it.

Best wishes.
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Old 09-14-2017, 05:57 PM
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My cousin's wife died recently. I called him maybe 3 days later and we just talked. Unfortunately, I can't go to the funeral, but my sister, who lives closer, will be going. Now its about 3 weeks later, and I am sending a card just to say I'm still thinking about him. My sisters and I will also go to visit the family around Christmas time, because we will be in the area, and because we all need support for a long time after the funeral.

Of course, different families and different situations call for different reactions. But if you think about how you would like to be treated if it was your mother who had died, that would be the best solution. Personally, I don't like electronic media for this sort of thing - it is so impersonal. But maybe that's because I am pretty old. So if you are younger and this seems kind and loving to you, it might be appropriate.
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