«He’s no flatterer,» said Ela. «He doesn’t tell us what we want. He tells us what we know is true. He didn’t win our affection, Mother, he won our trust.»
«Speaker for the Dead» by Orson Scott Card
After my father died about two months ago, my family and I had to write an obituary. And I found out how badly designed many aspects of the funeral business are. A week or so ago, my mother asked me to write/design the thank you notice for the many condolence letters/cards we had gotten.
She did send me a few examples, and … well, at least there is consistency with the obituaries. And within the thank you letters — text, graphics, layout — there’s a frightening consistency there as well.
Admittedly, I’m not a designer (and I fucked up the line spacing), but I (mostly) like my version of the thank you notice:
And yeah, it probably applies to other people as well — a bit of a Barnum Text thank you message — but the “impressions, memories and anecdotes” part that forges the link to his person.
But yeah, I also wonder why many of them are so baldy designed. In part it might be due to grief, and in part likely due to lack of skills. However, the condolence messages do give you an impression what other people remember about the deceased. And combined with what you remember — there should be enough material for a good message.
After all, a good condolence Letter:
Writing Condolence Letters
Mention something in the letter that is meaningful about the person who has died. It can be a memory or just something you particularly liked about the person. Those left behind feel pain whether you write or not. Open yourself to those in grief and don’t be afraid to say what you really feel, even if it’s to tell them, «I’m so sorry. I don’t know what to say, but I’m here for you.» There is beauty in the honest confrontation of death and grief and only more hurt in the awkward avoidance of bringing it into the light.
Apparently from an Emily Post book
Hmm, all in all, an interesting experience that’s still ongoing.