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When someone dies, it’s often difficult to know what to say in a sympathy card to the family.

And do you say anything different to the primary caregiver?

Well, there may be a closeness between the caregiver and the departed that isn’t there with other family members.  It’s also likely the caregiver is emotionally and physically exhausted from caregiving.

When my parents passed, we received many cards and letters.

And I learned things about my parents I’d never known.  But it didn’t really surprise me to know they’d done nice things for people quietly and without fanfare.  It gave me great comfort to read the stories.

Not only immediately, but months later when I could fully process them.

What to Say In a Sympathy Card: What Do I Say To a Grieving Caregiver?

It can be difficult to know what to say in a sympathy card to a grieving caregiver.

Basically, you say some of the same things you’d say to any bereaved family member.  It’s s good idea to realize the caregiver likely is exhausted from caregiving.  So being kind and gentle means a lot at this time.

And cards or letters are nice.  Yes, some people prefer to send flowers.

You know, flowers only last a few days.  A card or note can be saved and reread… again and again.

Read in the moment of the most intense exhaustion and grief.  When the bereaved caregiver may not remember what you wrote.  With a card or letter it can be reread days or even months later when the memories are not as painful.

So how do you know what to say in a sympathy card to a grieving caregiver?

  • It’s about the bereaved and the departed. Not how you feel or what happened to you in similar circumstances.  And definitely not about how you think the bereaved feels – especially if you’ve never had a similar loss.
  • Sharing a happy memory of how the departed helped you is okay.  Happy memories are okay to write in a sympathy card.
  • Sometimes actions speak louder than words. The caregiver is likely in deep emotional pain, or even shock.  And if you can offer help or even just to listen that can do a long way.  Maybe you can run errands or offer to get groceries when you go.  Or something unique that only you can do for the caregiver.  It can mean a lot.

And sometimes you just don’t know what to say. It’s okay  to say that.

Sometimes you need more help in knowing how to phrase your words.  This ebook can guide you not only in the right things to say but also to do.  And even to avoid saying and doing the wrong things!

Just click on this link for more information or

Copy and paste this URL into your browser

Check it out now so you don’t have to worry what to say when you need the right words.


To your healthy caregiving,

Dr. Ina

Ina Gilmore M.D. (ret.)
“The Knitting Dr.”
Ambassador of Elder Care,
Founder, and



The information on this website is for educational purposes only.  It does not replace information or recommendations from your own physician or other health care provider.  This site does not advocate medical or other health-related self-care, and encourages you to obtain advice from your own personal physician or other health care provider.

This web site is not intended to replace medical, financial, legal, or any other professional advice.  Please use your own good judgment and consult with your own professionals before applying any ideas found within this website.


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