New York State Funeral Directors Association

Writing a Sympathy Card

Unfortunately, life gets in the way of death. If you find that you are unable to attend the funeral services of a family member or friend, a sympathy note is the next best thing.

Most funeral homes and newspapers offer online condolences, however, in the case of absence, nothing replaces a handwritten note of sympathy to the survivor.

A Sentinel Guards the Tomb of the Unknowns

Many cemeteries are landscaped and cleaned to maintain a respectful appearance, both for those who rest in peace and for the loved ones who visit them.

Respect for the dead is a common theme in many cultures – but it would be hard to match the reverence, hard work and dedication that members of U.S. Military pour into the task of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

With the release of the documentary film The Unknowns, people can now get a better feel for what it takes to guard the most-revered members of the American military – those who gave their lives and more for their country.

One family member just loved to walk on the beach.

Another told relatives he had the best time of his life sport fishing in Fort Lauderdale. Another made sure her children and grandchildren gathered each year for a family reunion in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Before hundreds of voyages, family members described various heartfelt reasons they brought their beloved’s ashes to be scattered at sea.

Video: Slaves No More

New York's Capital Region honors, re-buries Colonial-era slaves. Found by accident in an unmarked cemetery, scientists pinpointed their African origin and the community held a wake and funeral.

Video: Family History

Today, resources are becoming more widely available, giving people the ability to learn exciting stories about their ancestors. Find 14 great tips on the Blog.


SympathyNotes is written to stimulate discussion of death and grief. Opinions do not reflect the views of NYSFDA.

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